But that didn’t mean the home squad didn’t make it dramatic as the match rolled along for the announced crowd of 4,234.
Fury forward Carl Haworth scored in the 16th minute and Birmingham was kept in check the entire first half, credited with just one shot.
The second half brought a change in intensity and opportunities for the Legion. The most dramatic moment came in the 82nd minute. Birmingham’s Brian Wright — New England Revolution loaner — received a cross and attempted to tap in a shot past the keeper. Fury goalkeeper David Monsalve cleared it just ahead of the line.
“I tried to put myself in a position there,” Wright said. “DJ (midfielder Daniel Johnson) gave me a great opportunity. But it didn’t work out.”
After getting just one shot off in the first period, Legion FC battled back to get 11 in the second half. Three of those shots were on target and five were blocked.
Nine of the shots in the second half were from inside the box, as Legion FC controlled the possession clock as well — 58.5 percent to Ottawa’s 41.5 percent.
Legion coach Tom Soehn said there was a clear difference from the first and second half, as the staff adjusted and players showed more intensity.
“We came out flat, and we were chasing them in the first half,” he said. “But I told them at the half that they had to be more courageous. It was a totally different half for us.”
Soehn said adjustments and better play are important, but ultimately the team must play with intensity from the kickoff.
“I feel like once we get that first goal, it will open up the floodgates,” he said.
Wright and Zachary Herivaux, a midfielder who also joined the team from the New England Revolution, clearly made a difference Saturday.
Soehn said the two players and the play of goalkeeper Matt Van Oekel, who returned after being on injury reserve for last week’s season opener, were and will continue to be important to the team’s success in the future.
“Adding two new players made a difference,” Soehn said. “You can clearly see their impact.”
And Soehn praised Van Oekel’s play at the goal.
“He added another dimension for us,” he said. “He was aggressive in coming off the line, and fills up almost half of the goal.”
Wright said he felt good about his contribution to the team.
“Coach told me to be ready to come off the bench, and I think I did well,” he said. “We’re a new team, so we’re very hungry. Once we get that first win, it will be big.”
Wright finished the match with two shots, while Holland led the team with three. Other shot attempts came from Kyle Fisher (2), Femi Hollinger-Janzen (2), Johnson (2) and Herivaux (1). Birmingham native Chandler Hoffman played the entire match, but didn’t get a shot.
Johnson led the team in passing accuracy (91.7%), while Kyle Culbertson had the most passes (56) on the night.
Birmingham Legion FC continues its inaugural season on March 30 as they travel to defending USL champions Louisville City FC for the franchise’s first road game.