Matt Pickens returned home to his former club and made them wish he’d missed his flight.
But it wouldn’t have mattered, because the Nashville keeper grew wings of his own and soared to some sensational saves Saturday in Tampa. It’s no surprise that he stands atop the Speedway Soccer Pod’s player ratings from the match.
Pickens – 9.0: Made a couple save-of-the-week quality stops and kept Nashville from going behind several times. Possibly his best performance of the year.
Kimura – 7.5: Put in a solid defensive shift, but faded a little in the second half.
Woodberry – 7.0: Solid for the first half and most of the second. Lost his man and failed to clear the ball on Tampa Bay’s equalizer, and nearly gifted them three points with a horribly sloppy pass to Doyle. An uncharacteristic mistake, but he was incredibly fortunate not to be punished.
Doyle – 7.5: All-in-all, a decent showing. Passed well out of the back and consistent defensively. Could have done better to clear the ball before Tampa Bay’s goal.
James – 7.5: Put in a strong defensive shift on the left side.
Winn – 5.5: Had a night to forget. Held the ball far too long and was positionally undisciplined. His worst moment came shortly after Nashville opened the scoring, when he had Mensah in space, waiting to be played through on goal. Winn inexplicably held the ball a couple touches too long and Mensah was caught offside on what should have been a certain goal for Nashville. Taken off at halftime for Ish Jome.
LaGrassa – 8.0: Worked hard and had a strong showing. Was overrun in the second half as Tampa Bay threw numbers forward.
Akinyode – 8.5: Another showing consistent with what we expect from him. Safe in possession, read the game well, and made several crucial tackes. A key part of Nashville’s goal with a well-timed challenge and quick pass to Mensah.
Washington – 7.0: One of his stronger defensive showings of the year. Got up and back the left wing diligently and was able to get into the attack, creating two chances. Taken off for Bourgeois in the 70th minute.
Moloto – 8.5: Very dangerous in the first half, but faded in the second. Took his goal really well and had a few other chances, but wasn’t able to get on the ball in good positions as the game went on.
Mensah – 7.5: Ran hard, stretched the defense, and got the assist on Moloto’s goal. Looked really frustrated to come off for Allen in the 81st minute, and many fans will sympathize.
Jome – 6.5: Replaced Winn at the half. Wasn’t a tremendous improvement, largely because he didn’t see the ball in dangerous spots. Worked hard and tried to make things happen, but it wasn’t his night.
Bourgeois – 7.0: Replaced Washington after 70 mintes and saw the Boys In Gold switch to a back 5 to try and see out the win. Did his job well for the most part, even if he was caught flat-footed for Tampa Bay’s equalizer.
Allen – N/A: Replaced Mensah in the 81st minute, even as the game was crying out for more numbers in midfield. Didn’t do anything wrong, but his skill set isn’t well suited for the target forward role he was brought on to do.
Manager – 6.0: Started the game well, but didn’t have many answers for Tampa Bay’s increased pressure in the second half. His switch to a back 5 worked pretty well, but opted to bring on Brandon Allen instead of more help in midfield when Nashville desperately needed bodies in the center of the pitch.