Smashing success for Memphis 901 FC in home opener

Sports

MEMPHIS — In the much anticipated home opener for Memphis 901 FC, Skylar Thomas scored on a header in the 75th minute to give 901 FC a 1-0 win over Atlanta United 2, improving Memphis to 2-2-2 on the young season.

Thomas wasn’t even expected to play against Atlanta after being hit with a red card and ejected in Saturday’s loss at Louisville City. But Wednesday morning, that red card was rescinded, allowing Thomas to play.

The night began with Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins taking part in one of 901 FC’s most storied traditions.

The pregame guitar smash and Jenkins didn’t disappoint.

After a number of early opportunities, 901 FC caught a huge break, late in the first half. Atlanta United’s Ajani Fortune was whistled for his second yellow card after tackling his brother, Memphis midfielder Dre Fortune. That forced Atlanta to play with 10 men for the rest of the game.

The win could prove to be costly.

Starting goalkeeper John Berner went down during stoppage time, hitting the ground following a non-contact injury to a lower extremity. With Berner unable to continue and out of substitutions, Memphis relied on defender Mark Segbers to suit up in goal for the remaining few minutes of the match. Segbers proceeded to make a game-tying saves in the waning moments to cement the victory in front of an announced crowd of 5,083.

“It shows the character of the team,” Head Coach Ben Pirmann said of the last few chaotic minutes. “Segbers stepped up, he made a couple good saves, guys are making blocks, we’re doing the business. We talked about rewarding this community, this club, this stadium, these supporters, and we did. We won the game, and that was the biggest and most important thing.”

Memphis continues its three game homestand Saturday night against OKC Energy FC.

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