Nashville earned its first USL victory with a 1-0 win against Bethlehem Steel FC. Here’s how the Speedway Soccer Pod team rated each member of the Boys in Gold.
Player ratings are 0-10 (10 being the best)
Pickens 7.5: In a bit of a worrying trend, Pickens continues to be Nashville’s best performer and again saved the team 2 points. After barely losing out on the USL Save of the Week award last week, he’ll be up for the award again after an incredible double save to deny Bethlehem from a free kick.
James 7: Played most of the match as a traditional right back and did well. Completed nearly 90 percent of his passes and got forward to good effect. Would like to see him involved in the final third more, though.
Bourgeois 6.5: Establishing his place as a starter in this team. Surprisingly dominant in the air considering he’s under 6 feet tall. Tends to resort to long balls to get out of pressure. It’s not the worst option, but it would be nice to see him be a bit more consistent with his passing.
Doyle 6.5: The most consistent passer of Nashville’s center backs. Still prone to an occasional lapse that results in a good chance for the opposition, but otherwise solid.
Davis 6.5: Ended up playing as in his more traditional role as a left back for most of the match after Nashville switched to a 4-4-2 early on. Got forward well, put a couple decent crosses in, and was consistent in defense.
Winn 7: Started as a forward with Cox, but shifted to right wing after Bethlehem’s red card. Flubbed two solid chances, but was industrious and took the ball at defenders. Always looked dangerous on the ball. Had acres of space late in the game, but his teammates went with a more conservative pass instead.
Reed 7: The captain completed 90 percent of his passes, and put in another consistent performance. We know what we can expect from him every week. The midfield did leave some gaps that allowed Bethlehem to counter, but overall were good.
Akinyode 7: Completed 94 percent of his passes, won the ball well, and was positionally sound. Would have liked to see him try to unlock the defense a bit more, especially with a man advantage for 87 minutes.
Washington 7: In his first start, he impressed. Played as a left winger for most of the match, and created three chances, the most of any Nashville player. One of the few players who seemed interested in pressing hard for a second goal, and will be frustrated that he didn’t receive the ball more when he had loads of space for much of the match.
Moloto 6.5: A quieter match by his standards, but was still impressive. Completed 92 percent of his passes and created two chances. Wasn’t able to put a shot on target, and was taken off after 71 minutes. It shows what a high level player he is that a very good performance feels a little below par for him.
Cox 7: Got in behind the defense early and drew the foul that resulted in a red card and a penalty. Scored the first competitive goal for the Boys in Gold. His decision making let him down a few times, as he got the ball in good positions but failed to pick out a teammate with a clear shooting lane, but he was dangerous throughout. Should continue to start for this team.
LaGrassa 7: Was a fairly conservative substitution for Moloto in the 63rd minute. Immediately dropped into a deeper midfield role, but completed 100 percent of his passes and helped to settle things down in midfield. A much better performance than his last outing in the home opener.
Mensah 6.5: Came on for Cox in the 71st minute, and brought his usual energy to the game. Only managed one shot, and couldn’t keep in on target. Needs to work on his end product.
Kimura 6.0: Replaced James in the 72nd minute, and was shaky. Lost the ball too easily, only completed 60 percent of his passes, and his lack of pace was evident as Bethlehem managed to get behind him far too easily. Will be interesting to watch his role in the team going forward.