Donut time! Birmingham Legion FC defeats Memphis and U.S. Soccer hero Tim Howard in opener

Birmingham Legion (in black) take on Memphis 901 FC in the USL Championship League on July 15, 2020. Photo courtesy of Trent Giles

Ok Birmingham – time to make a donut run. 

Birmingham Legion FC pulled off the perfect season opener in front of an ESPN 2 national television audience cruising to a 3-0 victory over arch-rival Memphis 901 at BBVA Field

For new Legion followers, whenever the “Men in Black” led by co-captain goalkeeper Matt Vanoekel notch a shutout, Legion fandom celebrate by eating donuts. 

Magic City Brigade scarf has a donut on it signifying shutouts. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

By the way here is your local Bham Now guide to donuts in the Magic City.

Beating Memphis and a Hero

Memphis 901 FC goalkeeper Tim Howard leads team onto BBVA Field against the Birmingham Legion FC. Photo courtesy of Trent Giles

Not only did the Legion beat its hated rival from the west, our youthful team scored three goals on Tim Howard, one of the greatest goalkeepers in the history of U.S. Soccer.  

As a former goalkeeper myself – it was an honor to see Howard between the posts. 

Who could ever forget America’s most memorable last minute goal ever against Algeria in the 2010 World Cup – which started with  Howard’s 40+ yard pass from his box to Landon Donovan.

Or the 2014 World Cup game in which Howard made a World Cup Record 16 saves, single handedly keeping the U.S. in the game against Belgium.

I can only imagine the game against the Legion was one Howard, who is also co-owner of the Memphis squad, would like to forget.

Fans React to First Game Back

Magic City Brigade supporters Jessica and Andrea Michelle. Photo from Magic City Brigade Facebook page

Other than the shutout, three goals, including two by 23 year old Bruno Lapa in his professional debut, the Legion also held the first professional sporting event in Alabama since the global coronavirus pandemic struck in March.

Bham Now asked members of the Magic City Brigade to send us photos capturing the excitement of the game.

Here is what they sent us:

Kneeling before the kickoff recognizing Black Lives Matter the Legion FC and. Memphis 901 FC teams during a USL Championship League game on July 15, 2020. Photo courtesy of Trent Giles
Birmingham Legion supporters. Photo courtesy of Chuck Thiele
Baby Groot masked up in the Magic City Brigade supporters section. Photo by Evan Kreider
Magic City Brigade at the Legion FC v. Memphis USL Championship League game on July 15, 2020. Photo courtesy of Trent Giles
Magic City Brigade supporter Joe Garcia. Photo courtesy of Trent Giles
Birmingham Legion defeats Memphis 901 FC in the USL Championship League game on July 15, 2020. Photo courtesy of Nic Gulas

Next up- Charleston Battery and Tampa Bay Rowdies 

The Legion’s first away game is Sunday, July 19th, 7:00PM against the Charleston Battery. They return back home on Saturday, July 25th, 6:30PM to take on the Tampa Bay Rowdies.

Crazy about soccer and looking for a way to support the Birmingham Legion? Join the Magic City Brigade the team’s official supporters group.

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Pat Byington
Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.
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