University of Memphis soccer alum Raul Gonzalez has battled multiple injuries over the last two and a half seasons. Last night, he helped Memphis 901 FC battle back from certain defeat in two and a half minutes to defeat Birmingham Legion 3-2.
The rivalry between Memphis 901 FC and Birmingham Legion FC has always been a tense, physical one. After taking the lead late in the second half, it looked like Birmingham would be leaving AutoZone Park the winner.
NIP AND TUCKBirmingham Legion capitalized on a defensive mistake to take a late first half lead. Memphis midfielder Laurent Kissiedou made Birmingham pay for its own defensive lapse to tie the match just before halftime. The next 35 minutes were a toss up as both teams pushed for the lead. Once Birmingham scored again in the 79th minute, Memphis 901 FC Head Coach Ben Pirmann pushed for a frantic finish.
THE MEMPHIS MIRACLE
Though Memphis couldn’t score an equalizer over next 11 minutes, they certainly found their mojo in the five minutes of added time. While Birmingham Legion continued to deny scoring chances, they were unable to completely clear the ball away from danger. Memphis 901 FC had earned numerous corner kicks all night, and specialist Kadeem Dacres made Birmingham pay the price. His kick in the 93rd minute found the head of Roland Lamah, who nodded into the back corner of the goal to tie the match.
Dacres wasn’t finished, though. Memphis 901 FC continued its attack against Birmingham Legion. Then Dacres delivered the corner kick that eventually found its way to Raul Gonzalez. Gonzalez threw everything he had into a flying bicycle kick that drove the ball past a stunned Birmingham Legion defense for a most improbable game winner. In fact the goal has been featured today as the ESPN SportsCenter Top 10 Play of the Day!
Watch the two comeback goals below, featuring commentary by Pete Pranica and JJ Greer.