Nashville SC loan watch: The (partial) return

IMG_0623
Cochran back. Tim Sullivan/For Club and Country

Two of Nashville SC’s outgoing loans are recalled to the squad, while three remain with Inter Nashville FC. That and more in this week’s loan watch.

Fresno FC 4, Portland Timbers II 2

 

Cochran started between the pipes and went all 90 for the Foxes. Although he allowed two goals to a powerful Timbers offense, he was the difference in the final scoreline with three saves and a punched out cross. He also completed 57.6% of this 33 passes in distribution.

Loan totals: Started and went the distance in five of six games with Fresno (was an unused substitution in the other). 750 save%, 1.00 GAA. Completed 80/134 passes (59.7%) with three caught crosses, three punched clearances and three clearances.

Cochran has been recalled from his month-long loan, and will return to the Nashville SC bench (or potentially lineup to give Matt Pickens a rest at some point) going forward.

Inter Nashville FC 0, Chattanooga FC 0

Defender Jordan Dunstan and midfielder Ian McGrath started the game and went 90 minutes. Midfielder Ramone Howell started and went 66 minutes. Defender Michael DeGraffenreidt did not see the field.

Inter Nashville FC 3, Greenville FC 2

Defender Jordan Dunstan and midfielder Ian McGrath started and went 90 minutes. Midfielder Ramone Howell started and went 73 minutes, scoring in the 55th. Defender Michael DeGraffenreidt did not see the field.

Loan totals: The players other than DeGraffenreidt have started each Inter game since joining the team (he has missed the past two game). McGrath has three goals and an assist. Howell has three goals and has been shown a yellow card one time.

Dunstan has been recalled from his loan, and will re-join Nashville SC. The other three remain with Inter, which begins its playoff run tonight in Antioch.

Advertisements

Nashville SC loan watch: Midfielders scoring for Inter Nashville FC

Howell_Headshot_NoLogo (1)
Ramone Howell had an eventful week for Inter Nashville, scoring a goal and picking up a yellow card. Courtesy Nashville SC

Nashville SC’s players are not all playing for Nashville SC. NSC now has one player on loan to a fellow USL club (goalkeeper CJ Cochran to Fresno FC) and four to the local NPSL side (Michael DeGraffanreidt, Jordan Dunstan, Ramone Howell, and Ian McGrath at Inter Nashville FC). How were their performances at their temporary clubs?

Fresno FC 0, Real Monarchs 1

CJ Cochran was an unused substitute for the Foxes (Kyle Reynish made eight saves and allowed one goal in his stead).

Fresno FC 2, Sacramento Republic 0

In their second opportunity for a major upset last week, FFC came through. Cochran was key to the effort, making five saves while keeping a clean sheet. He also attempted 28 passes (24 of them longballs), completing 42.9% of them.

Loan totals: .800 save%, 0.75 GAA. Completed 61/102 passes (59.8%) with three caught crosses, two punched clearances and two clearances.

Inter Nashville FC 6, Georgia Revolution 2

Defender Jordan Dunstan and midfielder Ian McGrath started the game and went 90 minutes. McGrath scored a goal in the 88th minute. Defenders Michael DeGraffenreidt started and played 85 minutes. Midfielder Ramone Howell started and played 86 minutes, and earned a yellow card in the 78th minute.

Inter Nashville FC 1, Atlanta Silverbacks 2

Defender Michael DeGraffenreidt and midfielders Ramone Howell and Ian McGrath all started the game and went 90 minutes. Howell scored a 67th-minute goal. Defender Jordan Dunstan started and played 45 minutes.

Loan totals: All four players have started each Inter game since joining the team. McGrath has three goals and an assist. Howell has two goals and has been shown a yellow card one time.

Nashville SC loan watch: Down week in the diaspora

img_0571.jpg
CJ Cochran (green) will be keeping tabs on Nashville SC from afar. Tim Sullivan/For Club and Country

Nashville SC had never had players out on loan before. In the course of a week, that… changed. NSC now has one player on loan to a fellow USL club (goalkeeper CJ Cochran to Fresno FC) and four to the local NPSL side (Michael DeGraffanreidt, Jordan Dunstan, Ramone Howell, and Ian McGrath at Inter Nashville FC). How were their performances at their temporary clubs?

Fresno FC 0, Colorado Springs Switchbacks 1

CJ Cochran started and went the distance for the Foxes, conceding on a set piece in the 86th minute on the only shot he faced. He completed 70.4% of his passes, and won one duel while earning a foul.

Loan totals: .700 save%, 1 GAA. Completed 48/74 passes (64.9%) with two caught crosses, two punched clearances and two clearances.

Inter Nashville FC 0, Asheville City Soccer Club 2

Defenders Michael DeGraffenreidt and Jordan Dunstan, and midfielders Ramone Howell and Ian McGrath started the game and went 90 minutes.

 

Inter Nashville FC 1, New Orleans Jesters 1

Defenders Michael DeGraffenreidt and Jordan Dunstan, and midfielders Ramone Howell and Ian McGrath started the game and went 90 minutes.

Loan totals: All four players have started both Inter games since joining the team. McGrath has two goals and an assist. Howell has one goal.

Nashville SC loan watch: McGrath gets goals

img_0571.jpg
CJ Cochran (green) will be keeping tabs on Nashville SC from afar. Tim Sullivan/For Club and Country

Nashville SC had never had players out on loan before. In the course of a week, that… changed. NSC now has one player on loan to a fellow USL club (goalkeeper CJ Cochran to Fresno FC) and four to the local NPSL side (Michael DeGraffanreidt, Jordan Dunstan, Ramone Howell, and Ian McGrath at Inter Nashville FC). How were their performances at their temporary clubs?

Fresno FC 0, Sacramento Republic 1

CJ Cochran started and went the distance for the Foxes. He made five saves and allowed one goal (83.3% save percentage), plus he caught one attempted cross and punched another away for a clearance. He also completed 20 of 22 passes.

Fresno FC 4, Swope Park Rangers 1

Cochran made two saves and gave up one goal in a surprising 4-1 win over the reigning USL runners-up. He completed 10 of 25 passes (goal kicks drag that down, obviously), punched out one cross, which counted as a clearance.

Loan totals: 77.8 save%, 1 GAA. Completed 30/47 passes (63.8%) with two punched clearances and a caught cross.

Inter Nashville FC 5, Asheville City Soccer Club 1

Defenders Michael DeGraffenreidt started the game and went 90 minutes.

Midfielder Ramone Howell started the game and went 78 minutes. He scored a 57th-minute goal.

Midfielder Ian McGrath started the game and went 90 minutes. He scored in the 32nd and 82nd minutes, and also added an assist.

Loan totals: Same as above, this was their first game with Inter.

Nashville SC backup keeper CJ Cochran loaned to Fresno FC

One of NSC’s best talents will be plying his trade elsewhere for the time being: goalkeeper CJ Cochran has been loaned to USL Western Conference side Fresno FC.

IMG_0624
Tim Sullivan/For Club and Country

Cochran joined Nashville SC from Oklahoma City Energy this offseason, but has been stuck behind stalwart Matt Pickens (also the goalkeeping coach for the Boys in Gold) so far in 2018. He has made two appearances, both in the US Open Cup. He went the distance in a shutout victory over Inter Nashville, punching one cross away and facing zero shots on goal, and made two saves while allowing one goal against Mississippi Brilla FC. He also contributed in five of the club’s six preseason matches, with a start against Ottawa Fury.

The terms of the loan agreement were not disclosed, as is typical within USL. It is expected that the former OKC Energy keeper (Cochran also played for NSC coach Gary Smith with the Atlanta Silverbacks of NASL in 2015) can make an impact with Fresno.

The Foxes currently boast a 3-4-7 record, and are four points out of the Western Conference playoff positions. A poor defense – with 18 goals against, they’re giving up 1.29 per game – has been one of their weaknesses to date. Kyle Reynish has played every league minute for Fresno, saving 66.7% of shots faced. Cochran may be able to improve on that performance (or at the very least his presence can motivate Reynish to step up).

Given that Cochran’s departure is a loan – and that USL contracts are typically one-year terms – he can be expected back by the end of the year.

Presser transcript: Gary Smith, Bradley Bourgeois, CJ Cochran pre-Louisville rematch

Nashville SC gaffer Gary Smith and two of his players met with the media in advance of the team’s rematch against Louisville City FC. Here’s what they had to say.

IMG_0657

Gary Smith

How difficult has the road stretch been?

“It’s not over yet either, is it? We’ve still got two very very difficult games after this one. I think I’ve said before, we look to this stretch in a particular way. Certainly, hopeful that we can pick up points on the road and keep ourselves in a position to strike as it were, as we come into a better home run of games. We’re doing a reasonable job of that. I’d love to have been two points better off. I’m almost certain that the two games just recently away from home, we could have converted into a win out of one of those, given the chances we had. But we are where we are.

“We’re very, very pleased to come back home. Only one game at First Tennessee Park in our first eight, so it’s brilliant to be there and be back in front of the fans, and I’m sure everyone will be absolutely revved up to get behind the team because they just haven’t seen them for so long. What we know is, there’s plenty of work to do beyond that, as well. It couldn’t be a more straightforward saying than, ‘we’ve just got to take every game that comes ‘round.’ If I’m looking at Open Cup, Pittsburgh, Charleston away from home – who themselves are in good form – then I think we run the risk of really overlooking good teams. We’ve got a very good team in front of us at the weekend. There’s specifics in our team that we have to nail down and perform well in certain areas, otherwise the game will get away from us again.

“The one thing I will say is, we’re a different group than they played first game of the season. Not just in the way that we play, possibly one or two personnel changes, but also, I think confidence-wise, we’re growing all the time. This will be a very very good test for both of us now, I would think.”

Takeaways from first game against Louisville

“I’m not sure it’s just the game we played against them. I know going into that, that on their home field, they’re as tough if not tougher than anyone. They play that field extremely well. The shape, the style of their team suits that narrow and difficult surface. But I honestly think, a lot of people misjudge the quality that they have in their side. I’ve watched them away from home, and they’re more than capable of maintaining the ball and working teams over. They’ve got a very very good togetherness, something that you would expect, and only maybe expect from a team that have won something. It’s an in-built mechanism for players that have been champions, that have won silverware, that are playing together again – there’s an inner confidence, and they’ve got that. They’ve lost one game this season, they’re rightfully in the top two of the league if not top based on games played. I honestly see these – along with maybe one or two other teams – as the best teams in this Eastern Conference.”

The offense seemed to be more open and productive against NYRBII than previously

”When you don’t end up winning a game and you create those chances, you always try to take some solace in other areas: all coaches do it. Definitely, we came away with mixed emotions. Great point, a very difficult venue against a very difficult team. But with chances to win the game ands come away from there feeling very very good about ourselves. The good thing is there’s a very good development line in the team: not just in the way that we’re creating, in the way that players are combining, and some of the relationships that are forming. Ropapa [Mensah]’s now scored three in four, we’ve got a much better dimension to this team than we had at the start of the season. We look like we’re capable of solving some of the questions that people pose us in their shape and the way they play.

“New York were very different to the teams that we played previous in Indy and Penn. Technically, very very good. Threw caution to the wind in their attacking in the first half, and were very exciting. We were able to keep them at bay as it were – to one goal – and in the second period I thought we got stronger and stronger, and really looked like there was only going to be one winner. So, there are a lot of areas that we’ve improved, and I hope continue to. There are players in this group and certainly the 11 that will start at the weekend, that are desperate to get that W on the schedule again, and on the results sheet. They deserve to have had one before now, but unfortunately, this game’s about being clinical and showing a ruthless edge. Until we get to that point, we’ll just be one of the average teams in the league who are battling away every week. I certainly think we’ve got enough quality, we’ve got enough character, and there’s enough ability in this team to continue on a good run and start to add more points to the board.”

Are you looking forward to the derby game Wednesday?

“I watched the game mid-week. Honestly, I’ve not thought about it too much, as I’ve said. It’s great that Inter have got through. No doubt that they will be absolutely frothing at the mouth to get at us and try and win the game. Our job after Sunday is to be ready for that, to fulfill the potential that the team has that I put out, and win the game. We need to go into the next round, that’s it, simple as that. It doesn’t matter what they do, or how they do it, it’s about what we do. Levels of soccer are there to prove that teams, players, and mentalities are at another level. The players that play on Wednesday will have to prove that in my group.”

On just two days’ rest, how do you manage personnel for that game?

“I’ve got a bit of a shadow group that I’ve put down. Like all teams, we’re training throughout the week and there are certain guys that I saw that are getting through games and might need a little more rest. There are certain areas of the field that I may not have as much depth and players may need to be turned out again. There is obviously a very tough game at the weekend that we need to get through. At the end of Sunday’s game, I’ll have the clearest picture of who’s fit, who’s going to be in a good enough physical shape, what is the right team mentally, physically, and tactically to put out to win against Inter. My sole focus on Wednesday is to win the game. If we win that game 10-nil, it’s going to make no difference to me than winning it 1-nil. It’ll just make my life easier on the touchline. As long as we’re in the hat for the next round, I don’t mind how we win it: we just win it.”

IMG_0634

Bradley Bourgeois

Being back home

“Extremely happy. We’ve just kind of been on the road a lot – had a couple off weekends just to rest – and we’ve just been itching to get back. Especially coming back home for Mother’s Day, it’s going to be fun.”

Long road trip

“It’s made us come together as a group. We’ve really had to come home and ask ourselves a bunch of questions, and see what we really need to work at. But that’s what happens when you get tested early, especially when you go on the road consistently. I think it only makes us better in the long run, especially toward the end of the season.”

Lessons learned in the first Louisville game

“You know, it was the first game of the season. There was a bunch of questions that we needed to answer for ourselves, but we also didn’t really know what they were going to do. If you play that first game against anyone, you’re not really sure, and now that we’ve had a look at them, this is kind of a vengeance game for us. Hopefully we can have some revenge, and go out and take three points.”

Does having a game under the belt against them help?

“I think it’s just coming together more as a group and enduring tough times, just in case something does happen. We’ve seen them, they’re an offensive power: they score goals, they finish plays, they’re very aggressive through the wings and they like to get crosses in. I just think defensively, we’ve been together as a group now, and I think it only makes us stronger; I think we’re prepared for it this time.”

Are you more comfortable with the four-man backline after playing Louisville with five at the back the first time around?

“Honestly, I don’t think it’s more of what they do, I think it’s just about us. That’s just something that comes down to what maybe fits the group a little bit better, especially just some of the games we had early on. You never know: we could switch back and play five at the back again. As of right now, I think moving forward, the four at the back has been working well for us.”

IMG_0622

CJ Cochran

Road trip

“Just being away from home in general. Home games offer up a bit more with home support and your home routine, whereas on the road, it’s just being a little bit different. I don’t know if it’s difficult, I mean, we’ve all played plenty of road games before. But when you put two or three back-to-back, it becomes a little bit of… not a struggle, but just something that you have to deal with.”

Being the No. 2 keeper

“I think I try to take the same attitude as Matt would. Justx that I need to prepare for every game as if I’m playing. Recently, Matt’s been doing that really well during the week to be able to perform during the game. You see it all the time where a goalkeeper gets in for whatever reason. Maybe he wasn’t supposed to start on that weekend, but it happens, so you just always have to be ready, and I think Micah takes the same attitude as well. If the decision comes up or circumstances arise, any one of us would be able to perform in the game.”

More ready for Louisville the second time around?

“Absolutely. Being the first game at the defending champs’ home field, I think it offered up a lot of challenges. It was a good first game for us: we learned a lot about how we’re going to play, and a lot about this league in general. I think we’re really excited to get them back at home in front of our fans on our field, and really give them a much better game, and hopefully get a win.”