The guys at Speedway Soccer Pod are back with their latest player ratings, this time breaking down the exciting regular season 3-3 finale against F.C. Cincinnati.
Matt Pickens – 6.0: An up-and-down night. Let Bone’s opener slip in under him a little too easily, and flapped at an attempted olympico corner, giving up a horrible rebound and letting Albadawi head the ball into an empty net. Couldn’t do anything to stop Cincinnati’s third and made a couple key saves, including a world-class save in the first half to deny Ledesma from range.
Ryan James – 6.5: Looked a bit timid and for the first time all season, seemed hesitant to use his right foot (he’s typically the most two-footed player on the pitch). Completely lost track of Bone on their opener and didn’t contribute a ton going forward.
Bradley Bourgeois – 7.0: Stepped high to mark Ledesma on Cincy’s opener, but didn’t close him down quickly enough and left a huge gap behind for Bone to exploit. Other than that didn’t have a poor night, but it was a pretty average showing in his first game back in almost a month.
Liam Doyle – 7.5: Wasn’t really involved in any of Cincinnati’s goals and came up with several important interventions.
Taylor Washington – 8.5: Supported Winn really well on the left and typically bombed forward in search of an equalizer. His overlapping runs and driven balls into the box have been key to Nashville’s improved attack.
Ropapa Mensah – 8.5: Drove the ball at Blake Smith all night and came close to goal in the first half. Put in some good service in the second, including a beautiful assist to Brandon Allen. In great form heading into the playoffs.
Michael Reed – 7.5: Looked lively before coming off with an injury to his left hamstring in the 21st minute. Was walking around with no visible limp after halftime, so hopefully it was a precaution to keep him healthy for the playoffs.
Bolu Akinyode – 9.0: A really strong showing from Speedway Soccer’s highest rated player of the regular season. Battled in midfield all night, winning back possession and completing 97% of his passes (and only 26% were passed backwards). He was poorly positioned on Bone’s opener – he looked unsure who to mark and let Bone slip behind him into a huge pocket of space. But he redeemed himself with his first (and one of Nashville’s best) goal of the season.
Alan Winn – 9.0: A danger all night, equally capable of taking the ball to the endline or cutting inside onto his stronger right foot. Set up Hume with a perfectly weighted cross, and continued to cause problems for Cincinnati until he came off in the 73rd minute.
Matt LaGrassa – 8.5: Started as a second striker and dropped back to play as a no. 8 after Reed went off. Covered every inch of the field and popped up with a team high seven tackles. He’s in really good form heading into the playoffs.
Tucker Hume – 8.0: Got his seventh goal of the season with a good header back across the goal. Faded a bit as the game went on, but occupied the center backs and made space for LaGrassa and Tyrpak underneath. Came off for Allen after 64 minutes.
Kris Tyrpak – 7.0: Replaced Reed early in the first half. Worked hard as a second forward, but never really came up with any end product. His most significant contribution was a shot he put straight at the ‘keeper that probably should have been a goal.
Brandon Allen – 8.0: Came on for Hume with around 30 minutes to play and produced a beautiful volleyed goal for Nashville’s second of the night. It seems he’s found a great role as an impact sub and has played with more energy than we’ve seen so far. He’ll be a key part of Nashville’s playoff performance.
Ramone Howell – 7.5: Replaced Alan Winn with 17 minutes to play and looked good, although somewhat unsure positionally. Operated underneath Allen but drifted to the right frequently. His biggest contribution was a blocked shot that led to Akinyode’s last gasp equalizer.
Gary Smith – 7.5: Can’t fault him too much for allowing three goals to the best attack in the country. His first two substitutions were strong, but it didn’t appear as if Howell had clear instructions on his role in the last 15 minutes. Smith’s teams have played Cincinnati really well all year, and it will be fascinating to see how he approaches the game this coming weekend.