Nashville SC Player Ratings vs. Ottawa Fury F.C.

Nashville SC dropped points on the road in its first international trip of the season, losing 2-0 to Ottawa Fury. Here are the Nashville SC player ratings from that match, courtesy of Speedway Soccer Pod. You can check out their latest episode recapping this match here.

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Matt Pickens – 6.5: Made a couple of saves and wasn’t at fault for either goal. Took a knock in stoppage time. Keep your eye on the injury report to see if he is listed.

London Woodberry – 5.0: His only offensive contribution was a blocked shot. Was mostly solid defensively, but picked up a really needless second yellow in the 94th minute. Was lucky not to be shown a straight red for putting his studs into Tony Taylor’s chest. He’ll be suspended for the midweek game against Atlanta.
Bradley Bourgeois – 7.0: Worked hard all night and was solid defensively, despite never looking 100 passes fit. Started grabbing his hamstring early in the first half and was forced off in the 83rd minute, forcing Nashville to play a man down. Would be shocked to see him in the squad against Atlanta.
Liam Doyle – 7.0: Had a pretty decent night. Did really well on Ottawa’s first goal to cut down Sanon’s angle and deny him the shot. Distribution was solid as always, and despite the scoreline had a good performance. With the injuries and suspension, he seems like a lock to continue starting the next few games.
Justin Davis – 6.0: Was an attacking threat down the left all night, putting in some good crosses and completing 84 percent of his passes. However, he gave the ball away really sloppily just outside his own box, directly leading to Ottawa’s second goal.
Taylor Washington – 5.5: Started on the right wing, and played as a number 10 to start the second half. Replaced by Tucker Hume after 60 minutes. Largely ineffective going forward, but then again so was the entire attack.
Matt LaGrassa – 7.0: Unfortunate to have one of his best performances in what may have been the worst result of the season. Was obviously more comfortable in a central role, saying “I am able to be more influential there.” Completed 83 percent of his passes and had a team-leading four shots. He sees space really well.
Michael Reed – 6.5: Looked less comfortable without Akinyode partnering him, but still created a team-high two chances. However, he often found himself occupying the same spaces as LaGrassa. Picked up a knock to his ankle and was replaced by Ryan James after 70 minutes.
Ish Jome – 5.5: Worked hard and got into some good spots. Beat his man on the dribble a few times, and had a shout for a penalty turned down in the first half. His end product in the final third still tends to disappoint. Like the rest of the attackers, mostly ineffective.
Brandon Allen – 5.0: Had one touch in the box all night. Managed a decent shot from it, but still… not good enough. Probably should’ve taken the penalty kick instead of Winn, though. Decided to stop marking Manella for Ottawa’s opening goal and left Davis isolated with two attackers. Frustrating.
Alan Winn – 5.0: Had three shots and created two chances, but looked really uncomfortable in a central role and eventually moved over to the right wing. Ended up taking the penalty kick in the 82nd minute, and hit the bar. Blew an opportunity to get three points on the road.
SUBS
Tucker Hume – 5.0: Replaced Washington in the 60th minute. Didn’t manage a shot. A very anonymous performance.
Ryan James – 6.0: Replaced the injured captain after 70 minutes. Pretty solid in possession. Not flashy, but not bad.
Kosuke Kimura – 5.0: Replaced Jome in the 79th minute, in what seemed to be a clear indication that Smith was settling for a draw. Played right midfield until Bourgeois went off injured, when he moved back to right back.
Manager
Gary Smith – 5.0: Was hurt by the lack of Mensah and Akinyode, but his team was not set up to create chances. His substitutions were conservative as well, leaving Moloto on the bench when the game sorely needed some creativity. Has to figure out a way to create more chances and get better results if Nashville wants to make the playoffs.

Nashville SC ventures north in search of points

We’re past the halfway point of Nashville SC inaugural season, and so far it can best be summed up in two Ron Swanson GIFs.

During the 11-game winning streak:

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And now in their current form, where they’ve dropped points in three of their last four matches:

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But despite the recent form, there’s little reason for panic. The Boys in Gold now go on a stretch where four of their next five opponents are currently outside the playoff bubble in the USL Eastern Conference, which starts Saturday with a trip to Ottawa Fury FC.

Team: Ottawa Fury FC

  • Affiliation: Montreal Impact
  • Stadium: TD Place Stadium (24,000)
    • TD Place Stadium is also home to the Ottawa Redblacks Canadian Football League team and hosted the 2017 Grey Cup
    • The stadium site has hosted sporting events since 1908 as Landsdowne Park but never played home to a soccer team until the Fury were formed in 2014
  • Coach: Nikola Popovic (1st season)
    • Popovic led the 2017 Swope Park Rangers to a 17-8-7 record and a Western Conference championship in his only year as coach, then the parties mutually agreed to part ways
    • Popovic has coached teams in four continents — Europe, Asia, Africa and North America
    • His first coaching job came in 2012, when he managed Portuguese second-division side Sertanense FC
  • First Season: 2014 (joined USL in 2017)
  • 2017 Finish: 8-10-14 (10th Eastern Conference, missed playoffs)
  • Best-ever Finish: 2017
  • Supporters Group: Bytown Boys, Stony Monday Riot
  • Three Fun Facts: Ottawa Fury FC moved from the NASL to the USL after the 2016 season, citing cost savings (of around $200,000) and attendance growth as reasons for the switch
    1. Ottawa ranked near the bottom of the league in passing last year and ended the campaign with eight draws in its final 11 matches — and a league-leading 14 draws all season
    1. Fury FC played Scottish stalwart Rangers in a 2014 friendly, losing 1-0 in a match at the newly opened TD Place.

Here’s what Nashville SC coach Gary Smith had to say about Ottawa.

Why it matters for Nashville: This side will obviously want to get back into the form it was in during the unbeaten stretch a couple of months ago. Since the U.S. Open Cup loss against Louisville, the Boys in Gold have fallen from as high as third place, to now sitting in seventh place tied with Charlotte Independence on points with 27.

And, as mentioned above, this next stretch of games is an opportune time to pick up points and get back into the hunt to host a home playoff game.

Why it matters for Ottawa: The Fury have won three of their last five USL matches to catapult them to within distance of competing for a playoff spot. Plus, they’ve proven to be a menacing host with a 4-3-2 record, so they’ll hope to expand on that record with a slick playing surface.

Projected Nashville SC starting 11

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Goalkeeper: Lather. Rinse. Repeat. (Side note: We are excited to see CJ Cochran back in the side after his brief loan in Fresno.)

Defense: Smith confirmed with the media that Bradley Bourgeois is ok after coming off against FC Cincinnati and not making the trip up to Charlotte, so we expect to see him make a return back to the side. Everything else is self explanatory.

Midfield: Lather. Rinse. Repeat for the middle of the park. As long as the Reed/Akinyode connection is clicking and controlling the midfield, there’s no reason to break up that tandem. Alan Winn is playing some of his best football at the moment and is a constant threat coming down either flank, so we expect him to continue his impressive run of form. Some may have disagreements with Matt LaGrassa on the wing, but his productivity out there (22 key passes on the year) and ability to swap positions with Lebo Moloto during the match is great for keeping the defenders off balance.

Forward: This one could cause some question marks, as Brandon Allen has only scored once in eight games and fans might be asking for Ropapa Mensah. However, he continues to be an asset in the linkup play, which Smith has expressed as one of Allen’s strongest qualities besides being in prominent goal-scoring spots. He could easily start this game, but we can also see Mensah getting a shot up top with Moloto, who isn’t getting removed any time soon.

Prediction: Although this is a tricky fixture, Nashville will be fresh on 10 days of rest. Ottawa is coming off a tough 1-0 loss to Toronto FC Wednesday in the first leg of the Canadian Cup, so there will be some tired legs on that side of the pitch. Nashville should take advantage of the break and pull off a hard-fought victory. 2-1 Nashville SC win.

Nashville SC and FC Cincinnati split points at Nissan Stadium

Future MLS sides Nashville SC and FC Cincinnati locked horns for the first time in the USL regular season Saturday at Nissan Stadium. The two sides, however, could not come to a conclusion on who the better team was and drew 0-0. The result keeps Nashville in fifth place in the USL Eastern Conference with 27 points, while Cincy remains up top.

Nashville had two quality chances in the first half, which both came near the end of the period and both from Lebo Moloto. Moloto blasted a header towards goal, which called Evan Newton into action.

A couple of minutes prior, he did this.

It was a bit of a surprising demolition of possession from Nashville, as they dominated in that category, as well as on the shot chart. However, not many of those chances bothered Newton other than Moloto’s first half header. The few couple of shots the Boys in Gold got on target went right at Newton.

Matt Pickens did come to the aide of Nashville a couple of times late into the match right before stoppage time. One chance he broke up a fast break.

Nashville SC will take on Charlotte Independence Wednesday. Check out our photo gallery from the match below. All photos were by Golden Goal’s Andy Simmons.

 

 

Fearless Forecast: Nashville SC vs. FC Cincinnati

Future MLS sides clash for the first time in the USL this season, as Nashville SC hosts the top team in the Eastern Conference at Nissan Stadium Saturday. Kickoff for the match is slated for 7:30 p.m., and can be watched on MyTV30, ESPN+ and heard on 94.9.

Here’s how the guys at Golden Goal and Speedway Soccer think the match will pan out.

 

Andy Simmons, Golden Goal:

1-1 draw

Goal: Matt LaGrassa.

MOTM: Matt Pickens.

Prediction: Someone will get a red card.

 

Wes Boling, Golden Goal:  Since Wes has the radio call for tonight’s match, he has declined to make any predictions.

Glenn Judah, Golden Goal:

2-0 Nashville

Goals: Lebo Moloto and Bradon Allen.

MOTM: Matt LaGrassa.

Prediction: LaGrassa has two assists and Nashville shuts out first place Cincy.

 

Ben Wright, Speedway Soccer:

2-1 Nashville

Goals: Lebo Moloto and Ropapa Mensah.

MOTM: Lebo Moloto.

Prediction: Ben arrives in Nashville 10 mins before the game finishes and doesn’t see any of it. (Ben is flying in from vacation)

 

Davey Shepherd, Speedway Soccer:

2-0 Nashville

Goals: Brandon Allen and Lebo Moloto

MOTM: Lebo Moloto

Prediction: Davey get bored and just turn on the tube in the suite.

 

Jonathan Slape, Speedway Soccer:

1-1 Draw

Goal: Brandon Allen.

MOTM: Bolu Akinyode.

Prediction: NSC scores in the last 10 minutes to draw the game.

 

John Sloop, Speedway Soccer:

2-2 Draw

Goals: Alan Winn and Brandon Allen.

MOTM: Brandon Allen.

Prediction: Cincy fans act ok.

 

 

Nashville SC vs. Atlanta United 2 photo gallery

Nashville SC rebounded from its two-game losing streak in all competitions with a 3-0 rout against Atlanta United. Check out our photos from the game!

All photos were by Golden Goal’s Andy Simmons

 

 

Nashville SC falls at home for 1st time, loses 2nd consecutive

For weeks, Nashville SC was riding a wave of confidence during its 11-game unbeaten streak.

That wave seems to have come crashing down to shore, as the Boys in Gold fell to Indy Eleven 2-0 Tuesday night at First Tennessee Park. The loss snaps their unbeaten record at home, as well as an eight-game unbeaten streak in the USL. It’s also the second consecutive loss Nashville has suffered in all competitions.

“Well, of course, (I’m) very disappointed,” said Nashville SC coach Gary Smith.

“I was hoping that there wasn’t going to be that moment at home where our form had been very, very good. But, now I have to contemplate that. I’m trying to sift through the wreckage of a defeat and of course pretty emotional in the changing room as well. I think it was easy to see that we pretty much dominated the ball. Sadly for us, well in general goals change games. And the goal from the dead ball was quite a bitter pill to swallow given that we conceded two in Louisville as well. So that was a tad of a concern, and I think it gave them a little bit of a lift, understandably so.”

The biggest surprise of the night came before the match, where it was announced that Indy Eleven forward and leading goal-scorer and assist mane Sonny Saad was left off the entire team sheet for this contest.

Nashville elected to go with its standard formation of a 4-4-2, which lined up like this.

Nashville conceded only its second goal at First Tennessee Park and faced its first deficit at home in the 16th minute. After a brilliant diving save from Matt Pickens, Karl Ouimette headed in the ensuing corner as he was left alone in the box, freely powering it home for the 1-0 lead.

Justin Braun doubled the Indy delight in the 35th minute. After Lebo Moloto’s shot went straight Owain Fon Williams, the break was on for Indy. Braun found himself with the ball on the left side of the box. His shot went towards Pickens, who looked unprepared to handle the attempt.

Nashville elected to make a change at the break, bringing on Alan Winn for Ish Jome in an attempt to help bring some life into the lackluster performance from the first half.

Winn almost brought Nashville back within one in the 66th minute. A corner found his head, which he was able to redirect towards the back post. The shot beat the keeper, but Ayoze Garcia Perez was there to clear the ball off the goal line with a header of his own.

Nashville continued to try and press throughout, but just could not get anything going to pose a real threat to Indy’s lead, despite outshooting Indy Eleven 19-5 and dominating possession 63-37.

“I think it’s a tough one because you feel in control when you have the ball and you have possession. Mental discipline is that much more key when you don’t have everything going in your favor,” said midfielder and captain Michael Reed.

“We don’t want to just be a defensive type of team or a counter type of team. We show capabilities of keeping the ball higher up in the field and we just need to take advantage of our chances. Them scoring the first goal, we talked about as a team, it was really their first chance. They took advantage of it, so we had to come back and put forth the extra effort. I think it was still early in the game and we still had a lot going in our favor. After the second goal, you have to change your approach. But I think if you look at the second half, and I’m sure the stats will show, was very positive. We just have to be more critical in the box and take advantage of the many opportunities we have and that’s really our problem right now.”

Indy Eleven now moves ahead of Nashville SC in the USL Eastern Conference with 24 points, while Nashville drops to fifth place.

Nashville continues its stretch of home games Saturday when the Boys in Gold welcome Atlanta United 2 Saturday at First Tennessee Park. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m.