In their second USL Championship campaign, Birmingham Legion FC will begin their 2020 season with a bang by hosting Atlanta United FC in a preseason exhibition.
The match is set for Feb. 8 with a 4:30 p.m. ET kick-off time at BBVA Field.
“This will be the biggest soccer event in Birmingham since the 1996 Olympics and the U.S. Women’s National Team game in 2015,” Legion FC president and general manager Jay Heaps said in a statement. “Atlanta United has ranked in the top 10 in the world for attendance and have proven to be a top tier MLS Club. We are honored they are coming to the Magic City to play us on our home field.”
Atlanta, entering their fourth season, claimed the MLS Cup in 2018 and the U.S. Open Cup and Campeones Cup in 2019. This match will be a warm-up for the MLS side before they begin play in the 2020 Concacaf Champions League.
“Since launching our club ahead of the 2017 season, we’ve prioritized traveling to preseason games in the Southeast,” Atlanta United president Darren Eales said in a statement. “From Chattanooga to Charleston to Nashville, and now to Birmingham, we’re proud to play a role in the tremendous growth of soccer in our region. Birmingham Legion FC had a successful inaugural season in USL last year, and we’re excited to help launch their 2020 season at BBVA Field.”
Birmingham also announced that it is bringing back 2019 standouts Mikey Lopez, Matt VanOekel, Daniel Johnson, Anderson Asiedu and Prosper Kasim for the 2020 season. Asiedu was Atlanta United’s first-round MLS SuperDraft selection out of UCLA last season, but was cut by the Five Stripes mid-season and signed with Birmingham. Asiedu went on to lead Birmingham in assists with six.
In its first USL Championship season, Birmingham went 12-15-7, made the USL playoffs and beat North Carolina FC, 3-2, in the first round.