Jamaican Brett nets twice to lead Birmingham to victoryFriday, September 24, 2021
KENNESAW, Georgia (CMC) — Jamaican striker Neco Brett scored twice in the final 15 minutes and Birmingham Legion FC pulled away for a 4-0 win against Atlanta United 2 in the United Soccer League Championship on Wednesday.
Brett was active throughout the night at Fifth Third Bank Stadium, and with Thomas Vancaeyezeele and Prosper Kasim helped Birmingham end a three-match winless streak and solidify their place in the top two of the Central Division standings.
The 29-year-old found himself in several one-on-one scenarios with United goalkeeper Alec Kann, but he found the nets twice in the final stages of the game to carry his tally to 14 for the season and joint second in the USL Championship, as the Three Sparks tried to close the gap on Louisville City FC at the top of the division.
Brett's earliest influence on the game came after just three minutes, when he beat Atlanta's high defensive line and broke in down the right before playing the ball for JJ Williams, who skied his finish from 12 yards out.
The Jamaican then found the net four minutes later after the visitors turned over possession, but the goal was ruled out for off-side.
Birmingham took the lead in the 16th minute, when Prosper Kasim played the ball shifted infield from the right flank to Thomas Vancaeyezeele in a central position and the French Guiana international teed up a shot from 25 yards that clipped a defender and found its way into the back of the net.
Atlanta twice came close to equalising in the first half-hour after the break, but Darwin Matheus fired a low shot from 25 yards that was turned wide of the right post by Birmingham goalie Trevor Spangenberg, and Robbie Mertz curled a shot wide of the right post.
Brett was denied in the 69th minute when Kann blocked a shot from point-blank range, after the Jamaican forward had beautifully controlled a header back into the penalty area from a corner kick and the ball was half-cleared by the Atlanta defence.
Kann won another duel between the two in the 77th minute, when Brett got in behind the back line, but the keeper narrowed the angle perfectly coming off his line.
Brett was rewarded for his persistence in the 78th minute, when Eli Crognale played Brett in for a one-on-one breakaway starting 40 yards from goal and the striker lifted the ball over Kann as he reached the top of the penalty area.
The visitors wrapped up the game in fine style in the remaining time when Brett played Kasim into the right channel and the Ghanaian cut back inside onto his left foot to deliver a fine finish into the top-left corner and the Jamaican seized on a loose touch in the defensive third and chipped past Kann from 20 yards.