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USL’s Birmingham Legion looking to shock Inter Miami in US Open Cup

After a surprise win in the previous round against MLS side Charlotte FC, the USL team from Alabama are hoping to add the name of Inter Miami to their scalps.

May 24, 2023; Birmingham, AL, USA; Birmingham Legion FC defender Alex Crognale (21) and Charlotte FC midfielder Brandt Bronico (13) go for the ball during the first half at Protective Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
Marvin GentryUSA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

After a shock 2023 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 win over MLS side Charlotte FC, USL outfit Birmingham Legion now have their sights on a semi-final berth with Inter Miami standing in the way.

The Alabama based side toppled Charlotte FC before a club-record crowd of 12,772 fans with a solitary goal from Prosper Kasim’s enough to secure a passage to the quarter-final stage. With Cincinnati beating the other second tier side left in the competition (Pittsburgh Riverhounds) on Tuesday, all sights will be fixed on the Protective Stadium where are record crowd is expected.

Struggling in the League

Legion’s Open Cup success has come contrast to its league form in the second tier USL (United Soccer League), where the side has lost five consecutive games and currently sit in sixth place in the USL Eastern Conference standings. Long term head coach Tom Soehn will look to the likes of Enzo Martinez, Juan Agudelo and Tyler Pasher as they look for a way past the also struggling Inter Miami.

Birmingham Legion FC were established as a club in August 2013 and played under the name Birmingham Hammers until 2018 and began their first professional season as Birmingham Legion FC in March (2019).

Miami strife

Inter Miami are still reeling from the recent departure of English head coach Phil Neville. The former international player was dismissed in early June as he left Inter Miami in the basement of the Eastern Conference with just 15 points; five wins, zero draws and 10 losses, in addition, with a goal difference of -5, therefore, the relationship was unsustainable.

Javier Morales has taken over as interim coach after serving on Neville’s assistant staff with Miami having never reached this stage of the US Open Cup before with a place in the August semi-final against FC Cincinnati on the line.