Nashville SC defeated Charlotte 2-0 on Saturday in front of 7,487 fans at First Tennessee Park. Head coach Gary Smith called the the team’s first home victory another step in the right direction for the Boys in Gold.
Winn Named Man of the Match
Alan Winn was named Man of the Match after he scored the game winner for the Boys in Gold in the 24th minute with a nifty cutback and strong left-footed strike burying the ball in the bottom left corner of the net. What makes the goal so impressive is the 22-year-old is naturally right-footed.
“Absolutely terrific goal and it changed the face of the game,” Smith said after the game.
Kosuke Kimura tallied Nashville’s first assist in the USL with a beautiful ball up the right wing to set up Winn’s goal.
Winn continually used his pace to make dangerous runs down the right flank putting Charlotte’s backline on its heels. Smith praised Winn’s fearless attack and his endless energy.
“He’s brought a different dimension to our attack, and at the moment it’s going to be hard to take him out of the team,” Smith said.
Mensah’s Extra-Time Goal Seals Nashville’s Victory
Ropapa Mensah scored a goal in the 91st minute to cement Nashville’s second win and claim another important three points. He came on as Nashville’s first sub replacing Michael Cox up top. Nashville’s goalkeeper Matt Pickens gets credit with the assist on Mensah’s goal after sending a perfect long ball from his own penalty box.
Pickens Gets Third Clean Sheet In a Row
Pickens kept his third consecutive clean sheet alive early in the second half after a one-handed save off a Jorge Herrera free kick from just outside Nashville’s box. Smith called the save world class.
Nashville’s backline did a solid job keeping Charlotte’s attack off balance and weathering the counter attack. The Jacks came into the game leading the Eastern Conference with eight goals. Nashville hasn’t allowed a goal in 296 minutes.
“We said at halftime its 1-0, if we get that clean sheet we win the game,” Bradely Bourgeois said after the game.
Washington Limps Off with Injury
The only negative for Nashville was an injury to Taylor Washington. The left winger limped off the field in the 67th minute after landing awkwardly earlier in the second half. Smith said Washington had an issue with his hamstring earlier in the game and took him out of the game as a precaution.
Edgar Makes First Appearance for Nashville
Defender David Edgar made his first appearance as a defensive sub for Lebo Moloto in the 87th minute. Edgar was signed by the club on Wednesday and is working his way back from a knee injury he suffered in 2016.
Moving up the Table
Nashville is only two points behind Louisville City and the Tampa Bay Rowdies who lead the Eastern Conference with nine points. The Boys in Gold are tied with Charlotte and the New York Red Bull II with seven points, but are in fifth place on goal differential.
Nashville’s next match is on the road against the Indy Eleven, who beat North Carolina FC 1-0. The game is schedule for April 14 at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Minor Changes to Nashville’s Starting XI
Nashville SC head coach Gary Smith made only a few changes to the starting XI. Washington and Winn made their second start in a row and Kimura replaced Ryan James at right fullback. James had started the first three games of the season. After scoring Nashville’s only goal of the season against Bethlehem, Michael Cox retained his starting position up top.
Nashville lined up in a 5-3-2, but transitioned into a 4-4-2 with Winn moving from forward to right wing and Washington playing left wing in the midfield. Charlotte lined up in a 4-3-2-1 formation.
Nashville Starting XI:
- Justin Davis
- Liam Doyle
- Michael Cox
- Lebo Moloto
- Michael Reed
- Matt Pickens
- Alan Winn
- Bradley Bourgeois
- Taylor Washington
- Kosuke Kimura
- Bolu Akinyode
- Ropapa Mensah
- Ryan James
- Robin Shroot
- David Edgar
- Tucker Hume
- Matt LaGrassa
- CJ Cochran
Charlotte Starting XI:
- Bilal Duckett
- Yann Ekra
- Jorge Herrera
- Kevan George
- Henry Kalungi
- Cordell Cato
- Joel Johnson
- Alex Martinez
- Caleb Calvert
- Samuel Vines
- Andrew Dykstra
- Jake Areman
- Greg Jordan
- Kay Voser
- Mutaya Mwape
- Kainoa Likewise
- Calvin Doum
- Richardo Perez