Nashville SC extended their winning streak to three games after defeating Mississippi Brilla 3-1 at Vanderbilt Soccer Complex. Wednesday’s victory means Nashville will face an MLS team in the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup.
The Boys in Gold will find out Thursday at 10 a.m. which MLS team they will face, but it will likely be a club located in the Southeast. The possible match ups include Atlanta United, Orlando City SC, DC United, Houston Dynamo, Columbus Crew or FC Dallas.
“Mississippi came here with a terrific win under their belt, and they looked very confident,” Nashville SC head coach Gary Smith said after the win. “These games are extremely difficult. You’re favorites, I said it last week, a bit of a banana skin. Our attitude was good, we started off well, couldn’t have asked for much more in the first half other than to really have finished the game off.”
Brandon Allen Scores in Debut
It took Brandon Allen less than 20 minutes to score a goal in a Nashville SC uniform. The striker signed with the team on Tuesday and was in the starting XI tonight. Tucker Hume, who was the Man of the Match against Inter Nashville FC last game, recorded the assist after stealing the ball from a Brilla defender and making a cross to Allen for the easy finish.
Allen, who was named tonight’s Man of the Match, now has 33 goals in three seasons.
“It’s only my first game back in a while, so it’s obviously really exciting to get on the score sheet,” Allen said after the game. “We have an MLS team coming up, so hopefully next game we can find a way to get that win as well. Like I said, it’s really exciting to get three points and we are looking forward to Charleston on Saturday.”
London Woodberry Gaining Momentum
London Woodberry had missed most of the season after suffering a knee injury, but the defender got the start Wednesday. Woodberry extended Nashville’s lead in the 30th minute off a free kick outside Brilla’s penalty box. The 26-year-old’s sent a heater around Brilla’s defensive wall and into the bottom right corner for the goal.
“I wouldn’t think London was expecting to get himself on the score sheet,” Smith said after the game. “I really hoped he would get through 90 minutes. I took a bit of a chance and didn’t even ask him in the final 10 minutes when I brought Ropapa on. But he looked well, he’s a very well-kept individual, he looks after himself, you can see the way he performed, he’s in good shape. The biggest issue, of course, is when you get fatigued, but with the injury he’s had, he’s brought on the more stress, and suddenly you’re not quite as nimble in those late stages as you might have been early on. Wonderful to have him back, he’s a great add and another character to bring into the locker room.”
Brilla Fights Back
Brilla deserves credit for fighting back in the second half and putting Nashville in some scary situations. After Nashville’s goalkeeper C.J. Cochran made two great saves, Brilla scored in the 59th minute off a header.
The PDL side was hoping to knock off its second professional opponent in a row after defeating Indy Eleven 1-0 last week, but Robin Shroot’s first goal of the season in stoppage time sealed Nashville’s victory.
Nashville’s three goals tonight is a team record.
Five Games in 15 Days
Nashville SC is set for a hectic schedule over the next two weeks playing five games in the next 15 days. The first of the five matches is on the road against the Charleston Battery on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. The Battery currently sit third in the USL Eastern Conference with 18 points.
“We’ve been able to go on the road and pick up points, perform well, and I see no reason why that can’t be the case on Saturday,” Smith said. “Every game throws up different challenges, of course, but I would expect that we’ll be as tough a test and challenge for them as they will be for us.”