ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Saint Louis FC lost 3-2 against Birmingham Legion FC in front of 3,635 fans at World Wide Technology Soccer Park in Match 6 of the USL Championship regular season.
Birmingham Legion opened the scoring in the 37th minute from a free kick on the right side put in by Kyle Culbertson and headed in by Mathieu Laurent. STLFC would equalize in the 67th minute from Joaquin Rivas as Matt Bahner found him with a cross for his first goal of the season. Birmingham Legion would seal the victory with two goals in quick succession from substitute JJ Williams in the 75th and 81st minutes despite a late penalty goal from Sam Fink in the 88th minute to see the game finish 3-2. The loss breaks Saint Louis FC’s undefeated home streak at 13 games dating back to Match 15 in the 2018 USL season against Real Monarchs SLC. The result moves Saint Louis FC to 4-1-1 with 13 points while Birmingham Legion FC improves to 2-2-0 with 6 points in the USL Championship Eastern Conference.
The first half saw Saint Louis FC create a majority of chances and they nearly opened the scoring in the 9th minute as Russell Cicerone kept the ball in play on the end line and picked out Lewis Hilton on the penalty spot but his low shot was saved by Birmingham goalkeeper Matt VanOekel. STLFC goalkeeper Jake Fenlason was then called into action in the 23rd minute as Zachary Herivaux found space following a counterattack but Fenlason caught the shot. Kyle Greig then had a great chance in the 30th minute as he was found in the box by a Kadeem Dacres cross but his shot was blocked off the line. Birmingham would then score from a free kick that was put in the area by former STLFC player Culbertson and headed in by Laurent in the 37th minute to take a 1-0 lead into halftime.
The second half saw substitutions make the difference as JJ Williams was introduced in the 52nd minute as STLFC brought on both Rivas and Caleb Calvert in the 59th minute. STLFC would equalize through Rivas in the 63rd minute as he was found by Bahner with a cross and he headed the ball in for his first goal of the season. Birmingham would regain their lead in the 75th minute through Williams after being played by Daniel Johnson on the right side and his first-time shot found the back of the net. He would then double the lead in the 81st minute from a corner kick taken by Culbertson and his headed effort nestled inside the side netting. Rivas would earn a penalty kick in the 87th minute and Fink stepped up to convert for his third goal of the season as the home side pressed for an equalizer but could not find one to see the game finish 3-2.
"Well we shot ourselves in the foot tonight,” said STLFC Head Coach Anthony Pulis. “The manner we conceded the three goals tonight was extremely disappointing—two from basic set-pieces that we are usually more organized on, and another from a counterattack after a poor turnover and then don’t defend in transition. I thought tonight was the best football we played over the course of the season and the most chances we’ve created over the course of the season. We said to the guys before the game, we can talk about controlling the game and possession stats, but it comes down to what you do in both boxes. We did not take our chances tonight, and we let them have three really soft goals.”
Saint Louis FC at Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC – Saturday, April 20th at 6:00 p.m. CT
Birmingham Legion FC vs. Swope Park Rangers – Saturday, April 20th at 4:00 p.m. CT