Next Match – Birmingham Legion vs Louisville City – 10/30/2021
The Central Division all comes down to this. While Louisville City had sat atop the division for the majority of the season, the Birmingham Legion was never too far off and managed to close the gap and eventually overtake LouCity for the top spot. With only two points separating the two, a win could see Louisville retake first, while a draw is all that is needed for Birmingham to hang on. It’s a spooky Halloween weekend affair that not only determines the division but playoff seeding as well.
The Legion got the better of LouCity last time Morados took a road trip to Alabama, but it was a tightly contested match. Birmingham is in solid form with their most recent match, a show of force, crushing Sporting KC 6-0. City, meanwhile, has struggled late in the season with several road games, but the last result was a confidence-building 3-1 defeat of Memphis 901. Louisville City can boast a statistical superiority over most other opponents, but the Birmingham Legion is one of the few that nearly stand toe-to-toe with the purple juggernaut. The Legion generates 5.3 shots per match (4th) and bag 1.6 goals per match (13th). They’ve also accumulated 10 clean sheets (7th) with average goals against at 1.0 per match (2nd).
Birmingham, like LouCity, has a team full of quality talent such as Junior Flemmings, Bruno Lapa, and JJ Williams, but the focus on today’s piece will be on Neco Brett, Prosper Kasim, and Jonathan Dean. To put things bluntly, Brett is their Cameron Lancaster. He has 18 goals on 1.2 shots on target per match (both 1st on his team) and 3 assists. Kasim is another attacking threat who has 5 goals (tied 2nd) and 3 assists while generating 1.4 key passes per match (3rd). Dean may not be the same attacking presence as Brett and Kasim, but he serves as support. He leads his squad on assists, average match rating (7.34), and adds the second most 1.6 key passes per match.
FiveThirtyEight is giving a slight edge to Birmingham in this match. Regardless, Coach Danny Cruz remains confident in his squad and what they have accomplished this season. “Ultimately, [playing Birmingham] will be a great test for us going into the playoffs.” Coach Cruz said. “It’s a good opportunity to bounce back from the last time we played there and pick up three points and we certainly need it. We are going there for three points.” This Louisville City team has battled various forms of adversity this season and is well versed in competing in big matches. Look for the tenured players to be difference-makers in this matchup. While a road match of this magnitude may be daunting, have faith in the players in staff to perform when their backs are against a wall. VAMOS MORADOS!
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