Nashville SC Player Ratings vs. FC Cincinnati

The guys at Speedway Soccer Pod are back with their latest player ratings, this time breaking down the exciting regular season 3-3 finale against F.C. Cincinnati.

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Matt Pickens – 6.0: An up-and-down night. Let Bone’s opener slip in under him a little too easily, and flapped at an attempted olympico corner, giving up a horrible rebound and letting Albadawi head the ball into an empty net. Couldn’t do anything to stop Cincinnati’s third and made a couple key saves, including a world-class save in the first half to deny Ledesma from range.

Ryan James – 6.5: Looked a bit timid and for the first time all season, seemed hesitant to use his right foot (he’s typically the most two-footed player on the pitch). Completely lost track of Bone on their opener and didn’t contribute a ton going forward.

Bradley Bourgeois – 7.0: Stepped high to mark Ledesma on Cincy’s opener, but didn’t close him down quickly enough and left a huge gap behind for Bone to exploit. Other than that didn’t have a poor night, but it was a pretty average showing in his first game back in almost a month.

Liam Doyle – 7.5: Wasn’t really involved in any of Cincinnati’s goals and came up with several important interventions.

Taylor Washington – 8.5: Supported Winn really well on the left and typically bombed forward in search of an equalizer. His overlapping runs and driven balls into the box have been key to Nashville’s improved attack.

Ropapa Mensah – 8.5: Drove the ball at Blake Smith all night and came close to goal in the first half. Put in some good service in the second, including a beautiful assist to Brandon Allen. In great form heading into the playoffs.

Michael Reed – 7.5: Looked lively before coming off with an injury to his left hamstring in the 21st minute. Was walking around with no visible limp after halftime, so hopefully it was a precaution to keep him healthy for the playoffs.

Bolu Akinyode – 9.0: A really strong showing from Speedway Soccer’s highest rated player of the regular season. Battled in midfield all night, winning back possession and completing 97% of his passes (and only 26% were passed backwards). He was poorly positioned on Bone’s opener – he looked unsure who to mark and let Bone slip behind him into a huge pocket of space. But he redeemed himself with his first (and one of Nashville’s best) goal of the season.

Alan Winn – 9.0: A danger all night, equally capable of taking the ball to the endline or cutting inside onto his stronger right foot. Set up Hume with a perfectly weighted cross, and continued to cause problems for Cincinnati until he came off in the 73rd minute.

Matt LaGrassa – 8.5: Started as a second striker and dropped back to play as a no. 8 after Reed went off. Covered every inch of the field and popped up with a team high seven tackles. He’s in really good form heading into the playoffs.

Tucker Hume – 8.0: Got his seventh goal of the season with a good header back across the goal. Faded a bit as the game went on, but occupied the center backs and made space for LaGrassa and Tyrpak underneath. Came off for Allen after 64 minutes.

SUBS

Kris Tyrpak – 7.0: Replaced Reed early in the first half. Worked hard as a second forward, but never really came up with any end product. His most significant contribution was a shot he put straight at the ‘keeper that probably should have been a goal.

Brandon Allen – 8.0: Came on for Hume with around 30 minutes to play and produced a beautiful volleyed goal for Nashville’s second of the night. It seems he’s found a great role as an impact sub and has played with more energy than we’ve seen so far. He’ll be a key part of Nashville’s playoff performance.

Ramone Howell – 7.5: Replaced Alan Winn with 17 minutes to play and looked good, although somewhat unsure positionally. Operated underneath Allen but drifted to the right frequently. His biggest contribution was a blocked shot that led to Akinyode’s last gasp equalizer.

MANAGER

Gary Smith – 7.5: Can’t fault him too much for allowing three goals to the best attack in the country. His first two substitutions were strong, but it didn’t appear as if Howell had clear instructions on his role in the last 15 minutes. Smith’s teams have played Cincinnati really well all year, and it will be fascinating to see how he approaches the game this coming weekend.

Nashville SC Player Ratings vs. Toronto FC II

The guys at Speedway Soccer Pod are back with their latest player ratings, this time breaking down the 2-2 draw against Toronto FC II.

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Matt Pickens – 5.5: Gave up a bad rebound leading to Toronto’s opener, and should have saved their equalizer. Not a great night.
Kosuke Kimura – 8.5: Not at fault for Nashville’s defensive issues and really strong going forward.
Justin Davis – 6.0: Slow to react on Toronto’s first goal, and beaten in the air far too easily on their second. A really poor showing on the defensive side, although he was decent going forward.
Liam Doyle – 7.0: Not a particularly notable showing, but didn’t do a whole lot wrong.
Taylor Washington – 8.5: Really strong going forward, completing 94% of his passes and putting in some really good service. Should’ve been rewarded with better finishing from his strikers.
Bolu Akinyode – 8.0: Completed a high percentage of his passes, cleaned up messes in midfield, and let his teammates push forward. A pretty typical performance.
Michael Reed – 8.5: Moved the ball really well and put in some great service into the box. In a really good run of form.
Matt LaGrassa – 8.0: A bit of a mixed bag. Saw a penalty kick saved in the first half, but scored in the second on a half volley that was more difficult than it looked. Overall a positive performance.
Ropapa Mensah – 8.0: Took on defenders with pace all night and delivered some really good crosses into the box. Taken off for Woodberry in the 80th minute.
Tucker Hume – 6.5: Did really poorly with the service he got and didn’t make an impact. Replaced by Brandon Allen in the 62nd minute.
Alan Winn – 9.0: Dangerous all night. Earned the penalty in the first half and set up Allen with a beautiful layoff. Created five chances on the night. Really good performance.
SUBS
Brandon Allen – 9.5: His best performance of the season. Came on with 30 minutes to play and ran harder than he ever has in a Nashville shirt. Assisted LaGrassa after a brilliant run and scored what should have been the winner for Nashville. A different kind of performance than we’re used to seeing from him – hopefully it carries over into the playoffs.
London Woodberry – N/R: Replaced Mensah with 10 minutes to go and saw Nashville switch to a back five. Didn’t have any impact.
MANAGER
Gary Smith – 4.0: Let his team attack in the first 75 minutes and subbed in Brandon Allen, who changed the game. Tried to bunker in and squeeze out a 2-1 win and it absolutely backfired. Bringing on Woodberry saw momentum shift even more to Toronto and he again shows that won’t be aggressive and kill off a game when he needs to. Nashville blew a chance to secure a playoff berth at home against the worst team in the east, and it’s largely his fault.

 

Player Ratings: Nashville SC vs. Charleston Battery

The guys at Speedway Soccer Pod are back with their latest player ratings, this time breaking down the rainy 1-1 draw against Charleston.

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Matt Pickens – 5.0: Made a terrible decision to punch a free kick back into a crowd of players, gifting Charleston with a goal. The weather definitely impacted the decision, but if he had held onto the ball, Nashville would have walked away with a crucial win. Other than that, he was only called on twice.

Kosuke Kimura – 6.5: Linked up well with Jome in the first half and Winn in the second half, but otherwise pretty quiet. Wasn’t tested much defensively.
Justin Davis – 7.0: The natural left back played as a right center back after Woodberry was dropped and Bourgeois was recovering from injury. Had a pretty strong showing. Wasn’t asked to do a whole lot defensively but was strong passing the ball out of the back. Drew a red card from Okonkwo in the 60th minute.
Liam Doyle – 7.0: About the same as Davis. Solid on both sides of the ball.
Taylor Washington – 6.5: Linked up well with Winn in the first half, although he wasn’t really asked to play the final ball much. Worked hard in the second half, but was really limited by being stuck in the middle of the infield swamp.
Ish Jome – 5.5: Really, really quiet all night. Moved to the left wing in the second half and wasn’t helped by the field conditions on that side. Withdrawn for Mensah after 69 minutes.
Matt LaGrassa – 6.5: Linked play well and tried to push the tempo, but his final ball was a bit off. Really needed to test the keeper more from range given the conditions.
Michael Reed – 6.0: Didn’t get forward as much as LaGrassa, probably by design. Like LaGrassa, really needed to test the keeper more.
Alan Winn – 6.0: Caused problems on the edge of the box, but his final ball was disappointing. Didn’t attempt a shot in 84 minutes on the field. Replaced by Shroot.
Lebo Moloto – 7.0: Had a very lively start to the game and looked like Nashville’s most dangerous player. Landed awkwardly on his knee after reaching for a long ball over the top. Was able to walk off the field on his own, but at first glance it looks like a serious, potentially season-ending injury.
Tucker Hume – 7.5: Managed Nashville’s only shot on target, an audacious over-the-head attempt that slipped through Cooper’s hands for a goal. Was a target in the box all night, but wasn’t able to direct many of Nashville’s 41 crosses on goal. One of the few players who seemed willing to take a shot.

SUBS

Brandon Allen – 5.0:  Replaced the injured Moloto after 31 minutes, and was very uninvolved. Only touched the ball 16 times in his 60+ minutes on the pitch (for contrast, Moloto had 14 touches in 27 minutes). His biggest contribution was a missed half volley with the net gaping. He’s really faded recently.

Ropapa Mensah – 7.0: Replaced Jome in the 69th minute and brought a lot of energy to the match. Got onto the end of service into the box and stretched the defense well. Attempted three shots in his 20+ minutes on the field (only Hume had more). Ultimately couldn’t get a winner, but had a good showing.
Robin Shroot – N/R: Made his first appearance in 121 days (last appearance was May 24th in the Open Cup, with his last USL appearance coming on April 14th against Indy) and understandably looked rusty. Didn’t have time to impact the game at all.
MANAGER
Gary Smith – 4.0: Was unfortunate that a poor decision and bad weather led to Charleston’s goal. Other than that, not many positives from a coaching perspective. His team only took one shot on target (in the ninth minute), and only took eight shots in the remaining 86 minutes. Instead of instructing his team to test the keeper and take advantage of the weather (which had already led to one goal for Nashville), he instead attempted 41 crosses, which have been proven to be one of the more ineffective methods of chance creation. Had two home games in a week, and needed points from both. Instead, they got 1 point from two must-win games and are three spots outside playoff position with five games remaining, two of which are on the road, and two of which are at home to teams ahead of them in the table. It’s been a really bad stretch of games for Nashville, and his overly conservative and limited approach is at the forefront.

Nashville SC Player Ratings: vs. NCFC

The guys at Speedway Soccer Pod are back with their player ratings, this time they recap the exciting come-from-behind 3-3 draw against North Carolina FC.

 

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Matt Pickens – 4.5: Despite a deflection on the first goal, he could have done better. Slow to react on the free kick goal, even though the wall was set up to force Rios to shoot towards the far post. Should’ve done better. Wasn’t helped by poor defending on the third goal, but again was slow to react. On top of this he didn’t make a save all night. An uncharacteristically poor showing.

Kosuke Kimura – 8.0: The best of Nashville’s defense. Safe with the ball and got involved in the attack well.
Bradley Bourgeois – 6.5: Not directly at fault for any of North Carolina’s goals, but a poor attempted clearance put Doyle under a lot of pressure on the third. Not a bad performance, but not up to his usual standards. On a positive note, his effectiveness passing the ball has increased all season and he’s contributing a lot to the attack with solid distribution.
Liam Doyle – 5.0: Slow to close down Shipalane for the opener and got a touch that deflected it past Pickens. A really bad attempted clearance perfectly set up Steinberger to volley home North Carolina’s third. Earned a penalty kick after his free kick hit a defender in the hand, but that was about his only positive contribution.
Matt LaGrassa – 6.5: Started out with on the right but moved centrally after the break. Worked hard but had limited impact.
Michael Reed – 6.0: Completed nearly 97 percent of his passes, but failed to keep his shots on target. He was the closest Shipalane after the ball was turned over and tracked back, but never got into position to make a tackle and let him get the shot off. Hesitant to close down Steinberger for North Carolina’s third and again allowed him to get the shot off. Very industrious, but not much end product.
Bolu Akinyode – 6.5: His job in this team is to clean up messes, keep the ball moving, and give others the freedom to get forward. Did that well for the most part, but with his team in a two-goal deficit at the break, was withdrawn for more attacking fire power.
Taylor Washington – 8.0: As always, a high energy performance. Put in some dangerous crosses and took advantage of the space afforded to him. Moved to left back after Davis was withdrawn, and continued to bomb forward. He’s in a great run of form.
Lebo Moloto – 7.0: Gets credit for the equalizing goal, albeit a goal that needed a massive deflection to go in. Only managed a single shot and wasn’t able to create any meaningful chances. Was responsible for an amazingly sloppy giveaway to set up North Carolina’s opening goal.
Ropapa Mensah – 6.5: Ran hard but never really got involved. Came off at halftime for Brandon Allen.
SUBS
Alan Winn – 6.5: Replaced Bolu Akinyode at halftime in a very attack minded substitution, but didn’t really pay off. His crossing was poor, he couldn’t manage a shot, and never really clicked with his teammates.
Brandon Allen – 9.0: Didn’t get much service, but cooly dispatched two penalties. In a game like this one, you can only take the chances you get and he did that well.
Tucker Hume – 7.5: Replaced Justin Davis in the 68th minute and did really well to earn a penalty kick 11 minutes later. Brought down the ball really well before being dragged back. Given the form he’s in, one might wonder why he didn’t start.
MANAGER
Gary Smith – 6.0: Credit to him for making aggressive substitutions and fighting back to earn a point, but the team started sluggishly and continues to drop points they really need. Sure, his team scored three, but two were penalties and one took an incredibly fortuitous deflection, and they gave up three of the sloppiest goals of the season. The offense had no real ideas, and created no real chances (0.397 xG). Nashville will probably squeeze into the playoffs, but questions should be asked if these performances are good enough, and that starts with the manager

Nashville SC player ratings vs. Toronto FC II

Nashville SC became the first team this season in the USL to lose to Toronto FC II, falling 2-0 Saturday night in Rochester, NY.

The guys at Speedway Soccer Pod are here to once again give their objective and unbiased ratings from the match. Agree? Disagree? Let them know by reaching out to them on Twitter, or call their hotline at (615) 640-0664.

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CJ Cochran – 5.0: Made a horrific decision to try and tackle Srbely that gave away a really sloppy penalty. Wasn’t at fault for the second goal, and wasn’t incredibly busy the rest of the night, but his poor choice really cost Nashville.

Kosuke Kimura – 5.5: Not very effective going forward. Slow to react for Toronto’s second goal. Replaced by Mensah after 60 minutes.
London Woodberry – 4.5: Let Srbely get in behind him to win the penalty kick. Slow to react to Srbely again for Toronto’s second goal. Had a nice ball over the top for Ropapa Mensah, but that was his only notable positive contribution.
Liam Doyle – 5.0: Like Woodberry, let Srbely get in behind to win the penalty kick, only moments after he was burned by Srbely on the edge of the box, who dragged his shot just wide. Blasted a late free kick well over the bar.
Ryan James – 6.0: Mostly solid defensively. Popped up with a few key interceptions. Slid over to right back after Kimura came off.
Ish Jome – 4.5: Very ineffective. Wasn’t always found when he was in space, but very wasteful when he had the ball. Taken off for Alan Winn in the 56th minute.
Matt LaGrassa – 5.5: Was more ambitious than Akinyode, but his passing didn’t always come off. Only managed two shots and didn’t create a chance, which is really poor considering the opposition.
Bolu Akinyode – 6.5: Completed 90% of his passes, but needs to offer more going forward. Probably Nashville’s best player on the night, but that’s a pretty low bar.
Taylor Washington – 5.5: Worked hard and covered a lot of ground. Didn’t get the ball enough when in space, but didn’t make a lot happen when he had the ball. Moved back to left back once Kimura was taken off.
Lebo Moloto – 5.0: Very ineffective. Didn’t take a shot and only created one chance against one of the worst team in league history. Drifted all over the field to try to get involved, but never really found the game. Taken off with an apparent hamstring injury in the 76th minute. Hopefully he’ll recover in time for the Cincinnati match, as this attack is almost completely dependent on him at the moment.
Brandon Allen – 4.5: Once again, completely uninvolved. Touched the ball three times in Toronto’s box, and only had 12 touches in Toronto’s half. Had two goals waved off for offside, one of which was the correct call, while the other was more questionable. Still, he didn’t take a shot against the worst team in the league. That’s unacceptable for a player brought in to be Nashville’s primary goal scorer. Hasn’t scored in 9 games, with his last goal coming against Penn FC on June 2nd.
SUBS:
Alan Winn – 5.0: Replaced Jome in the 56th minute and was better, but only slightly. Didn’t get off a shot despite Nashville desperately needing a goal.
Ropapa Mensah – 6.0: Replaced Kimura after 60 minutes in a clear signal of attacking intent, and brought a much needed energy to the side. Managed a good half volleyed shot after a good ball over the top from Woodberry. And decent showing, but his end product wasn’t there.
Tucker Hume – 5.5: Managed a couple shots, including a header from close range that lacked any real power. Whether by his own choice or by instruction, he drifted wide a lot and tried to put crosses in the box, when he should be on the end of crosses. Like other Nashville attackers, ineffective.
MANAGER
Gary Smith – 4.0: Went to play possibly the worst team in USL history on a neutral field and was outclassed. Nashville did have several travel issues, with many of the players arriving three hours before kickoff. Despite this, Nashville had by far the better squad and much more to play for, and once again his team lacked any ideas or cohesion in the final third. Smith needs to figure out how to generate any kind of consistent attacking threat quickly. It has been a problem all season, and is quickly starting to threaten any chances Nashville has at a playoff run.