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Five-Match Unbeaten Run Elevates Memphis into Playoff Position

By Ethan Triebsch, 10/06/21, 10:30PM CDT


Memphis extend its unbeaten run with sturdy victory over Kansas City

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Memphis 901 FC (10-8-8, 38 points) secured a come-from-behind 3-1 victory over divisional opponent Sporting Kansas City II (4-16-8, 20 points) Wednesday evening at AutoZone Park. With the decisive victory, Memphis 901 FC matched its longest unbeaten run in club history and set a club record for most wins in a single season. Additionally, Memphis finds itself above the playoff line with six matches remaining in regular-season play.

The match started with quick action from both offenses, as Memphis forced a corner kick three minutes in, and Sporting Kansas City II found a few chances. The early Sporting II chances paid off for the visitors as the club’s leading scorer, Enoch Mushagalusa, weaved through the Memphis defense to score in the 17’. The Memphis response, however, came minutes later as midfielder Kadeem Dacres turned on a Kansas City defender and lofted a ball toward the back post, over the gloves of the SKC II ‘keeper and off the head of forward Kyle Murphy. Murphy’s headed goal in the 20’ knotted match up at one goal apiece heading into halftime.

Following the break, Kyle Murphy nearly scored his second goal in the 59’ if not for an acrobatic goal-line clearance from Kansas City’s LeFlore. Murphy would not be denied for long, though, as Memphis 901 FC was awarded a penalty in the 73’ following an errant tackle from the visiting goalkeeper on Roland Lamah. Murphy stepped up to the spot and slotted his 17th goal of the year past McIntosh to give Memphis its first lead of the match. With dominant defending and possession in the final minutes of the match, forward Roland Lamah found space beyond the Kansas City defense, dribbled around the ‘keeper and sealed the victory for Memphis in the 90+5’.

Murphy’s brace bumps him up to a tie for second place in USL Championship play as he continues to rewrite his club record of goals scored in a single season and goals scored in a career with 901 FC. Murphy’s penalty score in the 74’ is the third of three converted on the year for Memphis. Additionally, with his assist on Murphy’s 20’ goal, Kadeem Dacres is two assists shy of setting the record for most assists in a single season with Memphis 901 FC.

With the victory, Memphis 901 FC are in a playoff position as it looks to claim one of the two remaining playoff spots left in the competitive Central Division. Of Memphis’ six remaining matches, four are at AutoZone Park as the club controls its own destiny and can clinch a playoff spot by winning 10 points of a possible 18.

“It was a great team performance and unbelievable effort,” Head Coach Ben Pirmann said. “Things didn’t really go our way in the first half, and it wasn’t really what we needed despite having more chances. In the second half, we had to earn it. We’ve been in this building enough that we know when you play great here, it lingers. The emotional and mental focus from the boys was great.”

“For me, the most important thing is the three points,” Roland Lamah said. “When we play at home, we need to win every game. When I entered the game, the score was 1-1, so I listened to what coach said. I wasn’t starting, but I was ready, and I knew I could add my piece to the team. I’m happy for us.”

“It shows the character of the team,” Kyle Murphy said of the come-from-behind victory. “Whether we’re down a goal or two goals, we’re not going to give up, we’re going to keep fighting; we showed that tonight and I think we’ve shown that throughout the season. We’re going to keep going.”

Memphis will aim to defend its playoff spot as it travels to Texas for a Western Conference clash with hot San Antonio FC team. Kickoff from Toyota Field is slated for 7:30 p.m. CT on Sunday, Oct. 10 and can be seen on ESPN+.

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