June 8, 2021 -Jamaican Neco Brett maintained his excellent early-season goal-scoring form when he netted a brace to propel Birmingham Legion to a 2-1 victory over FC Tulsa, and back to the top of the Central Division in the United Soccer League.
In a contest at the BBVA Field which was halted for three hours in the second half by lightning in the area, the 29-year-old scored in the 30th and 75th minutes as the hosts took control in both halves, and not even Dario Suarez’s strike six minutes from the end could influence the outcome.
The victory, Legion’s third on the trot and fourth in seven outings, moved them to 13 points, two clear of Atlanta United 2. For Tulsa, the defeat was their third straight on the heels of three consecutive victories and saw them slump to fourth on nine points.
Brett’s double put him among the leading scorers for the new season on five, only one behind leader Spaniard Santi Moar.
“Coming out and getting a good start was important after that long, lengthy delay,” said Legion FC assistant coach Khano Smith, a former Bermuda international who won 33 caps for the Caribbean country.
“I think the guys were locked in, they warmed up well, but I think tactically Tulsa caused us problems and winning this game wasn’t gonna be about who was the prettier soccer team.
“It was about knuckling down and grinding out the result, so I think the guys did that and credit to everyone that helped off the field.”
Brett’s low drive in the 27th minute was denied by goalkeeper Sean Lewis but the former young Reggae Boy made no mistake three minutes later when JJ Williams got free down the left side and swept across just behind the 18-yard box for the striker to find the target with a clinical right-footed volley.
Leading 1-0 at the break, Birmingham’s progress was stalled in the 58th minute when the bad weather forced players from the field for an extended interruption.
Jamaica international Junior Flemmings was brought off the bench immediately following the delay and it was he who provided the assist for the second goal.
The 25-year-old produced a surging run from midfield, slipped a pass to Brett who beat the offside trap to nudge past the ’keeper from eight yards, under pressure from defenders.
Suarez provided the late drama when he out-muscled full-back, Jonathan Dean, to head in a right-sided cross in the 84th minute, before forcing a save out of goalkeeper Matt Van Oekel with a rasping drive from 17 yards out.