Nashville Player Ratings vs. Mississippi Brilla

With Nashville SC’s 3-1 win against Mississippi Brilla Wednesday night in the U.S. Open Cup, the guys at Speedway Soccer once again gave their ratings on  how they think the team performed.

How do you think the team performed, and who was your man of the match? Let us know by tagging us on Twitter @GoldenGoalNash or @SoccerSpeedway to let your voice be heard.

Ratings are on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best. For our purposes, 6 will function as an average grade. Players introduced after the 80th minute get a grade of “N/A”.

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Manager 7.0:  Coach Smith sent out a strong side that should have killed off the game in the first half. Inverted his wingers after the break, which largely took Washington and Shroot out of the game. A slow start to the half saw Brilla get back into the game, but the superior talent of Nashville’s squad became evident late on.
Cochran – 7.0:  A bit of a mixed night. Was a bit hesitant in the first half and too slow to come off his line and claim the ball a few times. Nothing he could have done to prevent Brilla’s goal, and made a couple crucial saves in the second half to prevent an equalizer. A very reliable backup to Pickens.
James – 7.5:  Had acres of space on the right flank, and exploited it well. Connected really well with Shroot and Hume. Beaten a little too easily in the air on Matsoso’s goal, but otherwise solid in defense.
Woodberry – 9.0:  Showed the fans what they’d been missing the past few weeks. Strong in defense, and is a joy to watch on the ball. Completed 91 percent of his passes, many of which were quite ambitious. Bent his freekick beautifully around the wall, giving Bell no chance at the far post. Everything he does looks effortless.
Doyle – 8.0:  Typically strong on the ball, and loves to hit a 40 yard pass on a rope. Found Hume in the air several times, leading to some good chances for Nashville. Made some important clearances off of Brilla set pieces.
Davis – 7.0:  Has started every match so far for Nashville, and looked a bit tired. Let Kirchoff get behind him far too easily for Brilla’s goal, and was slow to react on a couple of occasions. Not a bad showing, but below what we’ve come to expect from him. Came off for Jome in the 63rd minute.
Shroot – 9.0:  Nashville’s best player on the night. Was dominant on the right wing in the first half. His touch is sublime, and he makes beating defenders look effortless. Very ambitious in his passing (completed 92 percent) and sees space in ways that others don’t. Went missing after the break a bit, mostly due to being switched to the left, but eventually wound up on the right wing and looked much more comfortable. Took his goal beautifully, and hopefully it will be the first of many.
Hughes – 7.5:  Very industrious, mostly efficient with the ball, but didn’t tackle as well as the midfield role requires. Still, he connected well with Hume and Shroot, and had completed 87 percent of his passes. All in all a pretty good night.
Akinyode – 8.0:  Surprised to see him go the full 90 with so many games coming quickly, but he was pretty crucial to the gameplan. Doesn’t give away possession needlessly, and helped Nashville close out the game late in the second half. Had a header from a set piece that he’d love to have back.
Washington – 7.5:  A fairly average performance by his standards. Kept the ball well, got up and down the line industriously, and covered for Davis in defense a few times. Had a breakaway late in the first half where he turned and passed the ball back, when he could have beaten the last defender for pace and been through on goal.
Hume – 8.5:  Followed up his two-goal performance in the 2nd round with another solid showing. Could have scored the opener, but opted to pass to Allen and get the assist instead. Used his size really well to hold off defenders, and his ball control is much better than you’d expect for a player of his size. Beat his man multiple times, either creating a chance for Nashville or drawing a free kick in a dangerous spot. He’s really in a great run of form, and it couldn’t come at a better time. Replaced by Mensah after 85 minutes.
Allen – 7.0:  Opened his account 19 minutes into his Nashville career, tapping into an empty net after Hume did well to set him up. Saw a pretty average penalty saved 5 minutes later, and really faded as the game went on. Lacked sharpness and match fitness, as is to be expected. Replaced by LaGrassa after 63 minutes.
SUBS:
LaGrassa – 7.5:  Replaced Allen in the 63rd minute, and played underneath Hume as a sort of #10. Gave the Boys in Gold more of a presence in midfield, and help to close out the game.
Jome – 6.5:  Replaced Davis in the 63rd minute. Had some good moments, and is definitely an above-average athlete. Looked a bit hesitant on the ball though, and will undoubtedly get more settled in as time goes on.
Mensah – N/A.  Replaced Hume in the 85th minute, and immediately stretched the field. Attacked the defense well and set up Hume for Nashville’s third goal. A strong cameo from the young Ghanaian.

Analyzing Nashville SC’s midfield

A strong midfield leads to success

Lobo Moloto fires a shot on goal for the Swope Park Rangers

Lobo Moloto fires a shot on goal for the Swope Park Rangers. / USL

Midfielders have one of the toughest roles on the pitch and usually cover the most ground every match. They have to play both ways setting up the attack and creating pressure on defense.

The best midfielders control the game both offensively and defensively through ball possession, accurate passing, and on-field positioning. A player’s positioning can easily be overlooked because it doesn’t end up on the scoresheet, but it is crucial for midfielders to find open spaces on offense and fill gaps on defense.

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