Yes, Jim Mora, despite Nashville SC’s recent 1-0 loss to Charlotte Independence, the Boys in Gold are still in the hunt for a playoff spot in the USL Eastern Conference. With eight games to go in the regular season, however, Nashville has little to no room to make any mistakes and cannot afford to drop points.
Nashville will once again head to the Tar Heel state to take North Carolina FC Saturday. If you’ll recall, this occurred the last time these two sides clash.
Ropapa Mensah’s late winner is arguably one of the top moments this season. However, the stoppage-time goal seems very distant. After that match, Nashville has gone 4-3-6 and have slid down to ninth place in the Eastern Conference. Currently sitting outside the playoff bubble with 38 points and tied with Ottawa Fury for that last spot, a win would go a long way in helping Nashville reach its playoff potential.
North Carolina FC is 4-1-3 in its last eight contests, including a victory against top-4 side Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
Here’s what Nashville SC coach Gary Smith had to say about the upcoming match, and what his side needs to do to convert on chances:
“I think if we can get ourselves out in front and convert those moments, I think the full focus and mindset of the weekend will be without a shadow of a doubt to try and get ourselves on the front foot and to get ourselves in a positive position. We proved that in Charlotte, we took the game to them, and we will continue to do that this weekend. We will be bright and positive and a team out there that can win the game, but what we also know is that they are a side fighting for a playoff berth exactly the same as us, and we have to make sure that we play with a level of professionalism that I think deserted us one or two times on the weekend. What I mean is the corner that was scored against us was a poor decision from one of the lads who missed his mark and someone end up free and they score. Even little things on the other end where we do have ideas on what we want to achieve, and we squandered a big opportunity which really should have been a penalty, but those professional moments can make a big difference. We certainly have to be mindful of a good home side who I don’t think are much different from other teams in this league, ourselves included. At home they are a very different prospect than playing away.”
Kickoff is slated for 4 p.m., and the game can be watched locally on MyTV30 and streamed on ESPN+.
Andy Simmons, Golden Goal
MOTM: Liam Doyle
Fearless Forecast: Nashville outshoots NCFC and out possesses them
Wes Boling, Golden Goal
MOTM: Bolu Akinyode
Fearless Forecast: Nashville will have 60% possession, but will attempt fewer shots on target than NCFC
Ben Wright, Speedway Soccer Pod
Goal: Tucker Hume
MOTM: Michael Reed
Fearless Forecast: Nashville gives up an early goal and take a lot of shots, but doesn’t create and clear chances.
Jonathan Slape, Speedway Soccer Pod
MOTM: Michael Reed
Fearless Forecast: NSC takes 70% of shots outside the box