Life is good for Memphis 901 FC. The USL side extended their unbeaten run to ten matches following a 0-0 draw to Detroit City FC. After starting the season with a pair of defeats, Memphis has not lost a single league match since, winning six and drawing four. They currently sit fourth in the USL Championship Eastern Conference, despite playing at least two fewer matches than any other Eastern Conference side.
Memphis’ debut season was back in 2019 and each year the team has improved. Following a last-place finish in their inaugural season and a 12th-place finish in 2020, Memphis made their first USL Championship playoff appearance in 2021. They would eventually fall in the Conference Quarterfinals. Last season, Memphis finished second in the East and progressed to the Conference Semifinals.
Memphis 901 FC hope to ride their unbeaten run to an even better finish here in 2023. They will certainly be looking to contend for the USL Championship Title this Fall.
Memphis 901 FC’s Unbeaten Run Is Now at Double Digits
Beginning of the Unbeaten Run
Memphis followed up the two losses to open the season with a pair of draws. With just two points through four matches, they were drifting away from the high expectations they had coming into the season.
Memphis was finally able to grab their first win on April 22nd; a 3-0 thrashing of Rio Grande Valley FC Toros. This would turn out to be just the beginning of their extraordinary run. Following a draw to Louisville City FC in the following match, Memphis went on to rattle off five consecutive victories. During their five-match winning streak, Memphis scored 14 goals while conceding just four. They’d crawled out from the depths of the Eastern Conference standings to now sit comfortably in a playoff spot.
Two Are Better than One
While Memphis 901 FC’s unbeaten run has been a complete team effort, there have been a couple of standout performers. A large part of the team’s success can be credited to the goalkeeper tandem of Bill Hamid and Drew Romig.
Memphis’ offseason was headlined by the marquee signing of goalkeeper and MLS legend, Bill Hamid. Hamid spent the majority of his 14-year professional career with D.C. United. During his time in D.C., Hamid helped United to a U.S. Open Cup title in 2013. He was named the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year in 2014.
Romig would start the season as the Memphis number one, with Hamid coming off an injury. After the first two games, Hamid returned and assumed the starting job. Often times competition like this can lead to a rift between teammates, however, it appears that Romig used the opportunity to improve his game and learn from one of the best.
After several games on the bench, Romig would get another chance when Memphis took on Miami FC on June 3rd. Romig put forward a strong performance and has started every other game since. He was recently named to the USL Championship Team of the Week for Week 14 due to a stellar display in a 3-1 win over Louisville City FC.
4 saves and @USLChampionship Team of the week accolades!
— Memphis 901 FC (@Memphis901FC) June 13, 2023
It is an immense advantage for Memphis to have two top-class keepers to choose from.
Sharing the Load
Another big part of the Memphis 901 FC’s unbeaten run has been a balanced scoring attack. They’ve had ten different goal scorers this season; seven of whom have double-digit goal tallies. Luis Fernando and Nighte Pickering lead the way with four goals apiece. Memphis has also recently acquired midfielder, Rodrigo da Costa. With four goals of his own this season, da Costa will certainly add another weapon to this balanced scoring attack.
Memphis also has had ten different assist providers, with Pickering leading the way with three. Opponents are at a major disadvantage when preparing to play Memphis given the multitude of different avenues they’re able to score from. When a team has so many different options to hurt you it’s nearly impossible to put together a game plan.
Coach Stephen Glass had the following to say about his team: “We’ve proven that we’re not one-dimensional. We’re not reliant on one particular person to score for us. We’ve shown we can score from set pieces, breakaways, cutbacks, crosses, and individual brilliance. I think when you’ve got a group of players that can score from different situations, you’ve got a good team.”
Memphis look to extend their unbeaten streak to eleven games when they take on FC Tulsa Wednesday, 6/21.
Photo Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports, of a Graham Smith Headshot, on April 26, 2023.
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