By: Caleb Hilliard
Memphis desperately need a win at Birmingham, after last week’s gut wrenching 1-2 loss at home to North Carolina FC.
Fans should remain optimistic as Tim Mulqueen and co. have shown resiliency this season.
In early June, the ‘Boys in Blue’ rallied a week after falling 0-3 at home to Indy Eleven and forced a 0-0 draw at the Ottawa Fury.
In mid-July, Memphis lost 0-2 at home to Nashville. The team proceeded to force a 2-2 draw against league leaders, New York Red Bulls II and defeated Ottawa 2-0 over a ten-day span.
Most recently, the 901 FC were blown out 0-4 at Pittsburgh and rallied the next week to keep Saint Louis scoreless in a 0-0 draw, away from home.
The team is third from the bottom of the Eastern Conference table but, they do not lack resiliency.
Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 17 at BBVA Field.
What to watch for: Birmingham Legion
The Birmingham Legion hit a season low from June 15th through June 29th. They conceded 13 goals, lost three matches and managed a 2-2 draw at home to the Hartford Athletic.
Head coach Tom Soehn made changes in early July and now Birmingham are a completely different side.
The Legion have not conceded a goal in their last five matches, with a record of four wins and one draw.
They edged NCFC 1-0, stomped Atlanta United II 4-0, defeated Charlotte 1-0 and drew 0-0 at Ottawa.
In their most recent match, Birmingham pulled off one of the most impressive wins of the entire season in the USL Championship.
They seized all three points in a 1-0 at the Tampa Bay Rowdies.
The Legion are in fine form and have no signs of slowing down.
Veteran goalkeeper, Matt Van Oekel is the team’s starting goalkeeper, with 17 appearances and seven clean sheets.
The two center-halves anchoring the stout backline are Kyle Fisher and Mathieu Laurent.
The team is without their starting left-back, Kyle Culbertson due to yellow card accumulation. Expect to see Memphis overload the right wing.
Chandler Hoffman, tied for a team-high four goals, ruptured his PCL in July and is out for the rest of the season.
Forward, Prosper Kasim also has four goals and is available for the match. He leads his team with 30 shots.
What to watch for: Memphis 901 FC
In the reverse fixture at home against Birmingham, Memphis were unlucky not to come away with three points and drew, 2-2.
Cameron Lindley and Duane Muckette both scored beautiful goals, before the Legion converted a controversial penalty kick in the second minute of stoppage time.
The team is out for revenge, this time in Alabama.
Midfielder, Pierre da Silva was not on the roster when the two teams last played and has looked a very skilled player since his arrival. He picked up a knee injury last week and may not play at Birmingham.
Defender, Liam Doyle was also not on Memphis’ roster when they drew to Birmingham. He has effortlessly slid into the starting XI, alongside Marc Burch, and will likely start on Saturday.
Lindley was the best player on the pitch in the 2-2 draw at home to Birmingham and will once again be an impact player on Saturday.
Forward, Lagos Kunga has not started many matches this season, but his speed could give Memphis the edge over the experienced Birmingham back-line.
Striker, Brandon Allen is looking to continue his scoring run and will start on Saturday.
After Elliot Collier’s injury, Allen has stepped up as the team’s main goal-scoring threat.