Nashville SC Player Ratings: Louisville City FC U.S. Open Cup Match

Nashville SC put up a strong fight bought was knocked out of the U.S. Open Cup by Louisville City FC last week. Here’s how the Speedway Soccer Pod team rated each player’s performance.

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Nashville bounced from Open Cup, sees unbeaten streak snapped

All good things must come to an end.

For Nashville SC, their 2-1 loss to Louisville City FC in the U.S. Open Cup Wednesday meant the end of two things. The Boys in Gold have not only been eliminated in the round of 16 of the Cup, but they also see their unbeaten streak in all competitions come an end at 11.

Nashville rolled out the same formation it used Saturday against North Carolina FC, with just a couple of changes. Late-winner savant Ropapa Mensah came on to start up top, with Lebo Moloto hanging back behind him. Michael Reed and Bolu Akinyode once again controlled the middle of the park, with Ish Jome and Matt LaGrassa out wide. London Woodberry came in and played in the back, which was the only change on the defense that has only allowed two goals in its past five contests coming in.

Louisville, meanwhile, was facing a plethora of injuries. One of them included top goal-scorer Cameron Lancaster, who was ruled doubtful before the contest.

The Boys in Gold had a rough go at trying to crack the Louisville defense, mustering only one shot the entire first half.

Louisville broke the deadlock in the 24th minute. After conceding a corner, the Bourbon Boys elected to play the set piece short to Oscar Jimenez. Jimenez took a couple of dribbles before whipping in a low cross to a crowd of players. In that crowd was Paco Craig making a near post run, where he blasted it past Pickens for the 1-0 lead.

The Bourbon Boys doubled their lead in the 58th minute. Paolo DelPiccolo found the ball at his feet after what looked like an attempted shot from George Davis right inside the six-yard box. DelPiccolo was able to tuck it into the bottom part of the goal to make it 2-0.

Nashville was able to pull one back in the 68th minute when London Woodberry swung in a cross from the right side that met the head of Matt LaGrassa making a near post run right near the six-yard box.

Although there were plenty of chances in front of net, including another way-too-close Bradley Bourgeois header on a cross that was inches away, it just wasn’t meant to be for Nashville.

Louisville now moves on to the quarterfinal to take on Chicago Fire. Nashville returns to action in the USL Tuesday against Indy Eleven at First Tennessee Park.


Nashville SC to face Louisville City in fifth round of U.S. Open Cup

The Battle of the Barrels will take place for a third time this season.

Nashville SC will visit USL foe Louisville City in the fifth round of the U.S. Open Cup. The match will take place at The University of Louisville’s Lynn Stadium on June 20 at 6 p.m. Central.

It will be the third meeting between the teams this season. Each side won 2-0 on its home turf. The sides meet in Louisville August 18 for a fourth time.

The initial meeting featured a 2-0 Lou City win thanks to two second-half goals in an evenly played match. Nashville dominated the return affair, playing perhaps its most complete match of the season in a 2-0 revenge victory.

If the Boys in Gold win, they will play either Atlanta United or Chicago Fire in the quarterfinals. A win in that match would pit Nashville against the winner of the Mideast region, which includes D.C. United, Orlando City, New York Red Bulls and Philadelphia Union.

Nashville entered the round of 16 thanks to a 2-0 victory over the MLS’s Colorado Rapids Wednesday at Vanderbilt Stadium. Lou City advanced to the round of 16 with a 3-2 home win over New England Revolution.

Nashville did not apply to host a fifth-round match.

Surging Nashville SC dispatches Colorado Rapids to advance in cup

In an inaugural season that has already seen plenty of history made, Nashville SC once again continued to etch its name in the record books.

The Club bested MLS side Colorado Rapids 2-0 Wednesday night in front of a rowdy group of fans at Vanderbilt Stadium to advance to the round of 16 in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

Nashville faced three MLS sides during the preseason, going 1-1-1 against them. None of those matches, however, had any significant value behind them. This victory, however, has to give a side oozing with confidence even more belief that they can take on anyone.

Even though Nashville dodged a bullet in not facing U.S. goalkeeper legend Tim Howard, who was chosen to sit out this game, it still doesn’t take away from the fact that the club is showing no signs of slowing down during this unbeaten streak (now up to nine games) they’re riding.

Although the above lineup indicates a 4-1-4-1, Nashville actually elected to go with a 4-4-1-1 on the pitch. Lebo Moloto lined up on the right side of midfield, while Matt LaGrassa lagged behind Brandon Allen.

Chances on goal were few and far between in the opening period. Nashville’s best chance came on a corner kick. It appeared London Woodberry was about to connect on the service with a header, but he was shoved from behind. The ball was eventually cleared.

The Boys in Gold caught a break in the 39th minute. Justin Davis crossed in a ball from the left sideline. As the ball was coming in, Colorado defender Michael Azira attempted to clear the ball as he slid to the ground. However, the ball actually deflected off his leg and backwards into the vulnerable net for the 1-0 lead.

Ropapa Mensah came on as a substitute in the 77th minute and made an immediate impact. One minute later, he was able to get on the end of Liam Doyle’s half-volley cross from the left side of the field and tuck it into side netting to make it 2-0.

Nashville continued its strong defensive play throughout the second half, limiting Colorado to only a handful of looks on goal, and no shots on target. It was fairly pedestrian game for Matt Pickens against his former club, whose only real action was a punched clearance.

Nashville returns to USL action Saturday, when the club takes a trip to the Sunshine State to face the Tampa Bay Rowdies.


Nashville SC seeks new heights against its coach’s old team

Gary Smith raised his arms and exulted, teeming with joy as his MLS Cup champion Colorado Rapids flooded the pitch on a frosty Toronto night in November 2010.

Keeper Matt Pickens and key defender Kosuke Kimura, both starters in the match, were sandwiched amidst the mob.

But less than a year later, Smith found himself out of a job.

“When I took the job, I was told I would have the final say,” Smith told ESPN following his dismissal from the club in 2011. “But over time that required more confrontation, more energy, and I was sick and tired of the backbiting.”

Almost eight years after he left the Rocky Mountains, Smith has a chance for vengeance against the club that booted him less than a year after he provided its only title.

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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.
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.