The Wrap: Nashville SC 0-2 Indy Eleven

After each USL game I provide a handy recap of all the content related to that outing so you can find everything you need to get knowledgable about what went down. As always, if I missed anything, hit the comments, or the inbox via Twitter, Facebook, or e-mail

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Ryan Lassan Photography/For Club and Country

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Halftime reset. Game story:

Nashville had plenty of the ball early in the game, but just like the last time they took on Indy Eleven, they couldn’t put a legitimate threat on the goal, and the opponent once again turned a quick counter-strike into a goal against the run of play… helping themselves tilt that run of play in their own favor. By the time Indy put in a second goal just 35 minutes into the game, they were able to sit back and absorb pressure.

Game column. Press conference video with Gary Smith, Michael Reed, and Ryan James.

The Graphical helps you understand how the game’s result came about by looking at stats and charts and such:

Count even just the shots that were on-target (green lines), and it looks like the Boys in Gold dominate this one:

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All the pressure in the world doesn’t matter, though, if you can’t solve the goalkeeper. Nashville probably deserved a goal in this one: five shots on target, all but one from extremely dangerous positions.

Don’t forget that you can vote each week in the community player ratings, and the results are published in the Breakdown. Michael Reed was this week’s Man of the Match:

Michael Reed 12.61 (98 minutes) – Community rating: 5.58

A lot of Reed’s contributions tend to go unnoticed because they’re about being sound in positional defense and not turning it over… and they get slightly overshadowed by the fact that he doesn’t always have the prettiest style even when effective. However, he got more involved offensively in this one – even if a couple of his patented rocket shots were blocked far from goal – and had some nice defensive plays. I do think he was one of the players responsible for Indy’s second goal because he didn’t get out to pressure Ayoze, whose feed resulted in an assist, but that was one negative play (compounded by at least three other teammates’ errors) with a lot of positive to like.

A good performance in a game that had precious few of them.

Elsewhere – Blogdom

Golden Goal match story. GG/Soccer Speedway player ratingsMusic City Soccer game story.

Elsewhere – Newsy things

USL’s gameday report, highlights, and game insights.

As always, thanks for visiting. Please feel free (nay, encouraged!) to share with friend 

 

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The Wrap: Nashville SC 1-0 North Carolina FC

After each USL game I provide a handy recap of all the content related to that outing so you can find everything you need to get knowledgable about what went down. As always, if I missed anything, hit the comments, or the inbox via Twitter, Facebook, or e-mail

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Halftime reset:

Nashville SC did manage a couple attempts on the North Carolina FC net, but couldn’t quite solve keeper Alex Tambakis. The best chance came in the 21st minute, when a floated header for the top corner by Matt LaGrassa barely kept out with a lunge toward the corner of the net from Tambakis.

Game story:

A nice passing sequence saw Lebo Moloto free in the box with the ball at his feet. Before he could get a shot off, he was cut down from behind. No call, move along.

Mensah’s finish rendered all that moot, however, when whatever problems Nashville had converting chances (21 shots, six on goal) into scoring can be an issue for another day. After a delay to begin the game and a contest that moved in fits and starts, all that will be remembered is one magical moment at the death of the clock.

Video from the postgame presser:

Don’t forget you can always vote in the community ratings. The results thereof are included in the Breakdown and Ratings, in which I named Ish Jome MOTM:

 He was a consistent threat down the side, stretched the opposing defense, and is underrated as a defender and ball-circulator. His relationship with Justin Davis is very nice, as well. With just a few weeks as a member of the squad, the sky is the limit here.

You can see the rest of the players’ ratings by clicking through above. I also did a Twitter moment about Mensah’s winner:

Finally, the Graphical looked at how NSC dominated the game despite a meager margin of victory, how Jome’s day was so effective, and more.

Elsewhere – Blogdom

Golden Goal match story. Not a whole lot written by the blog folks about this one.

Elsewhere – Newsy things

Changing up our Ghana-oriented news sources… Ghana Crusader on Mensah’s goal. USA Today Sports Network Tennessee hung out with the Roadies. Gamer from that outlet.

As always, thanks for visiting. Please fell free (nay, encouraged!) to share with friend 

 

The Wrap: Tampa Bay Rowdies 1-1 Nashville SC

After each USL game – or sometimes after two in a row! – I provide a handy recap of all the content related to that outing so you can find everything you need to get knowledgable about what went down. As always, if I missed anything, hit the comments, or the inbox via Twitter, Facebook, or e-mail

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Game story:

“That’s the biggest point that we have earned all season,” said Nashville SC head coach Gary Smith. “They put us under a ton of pressure. There was a lot of character shown by the lads considering how many games we have had recently, and I think that showed a bit in their legs.”

That pressure is explained by a few of the key charts in The Graphical:

Tampa Bay got a lot of shots off Saturday evening. 25 of them, in fact! Nashville’s goal felt like it was constantly under attack. Let’s take a closer look at shot quality, though:

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Nashville’s offense on the left, Tampa’s on the right

That’s a whole lot of missed shots (nine) and blocked shots (10). When you take into account that 19 of those 25 shots had no legitimate chance to score, it looks less like Tampa Bay’s offense dominated Nashville’s than that their style of play is to launch shots over and over again, hoping that sooner or later some of them go in. I don’t intend that as an insult, either: it’s a fun style of offense to watch, and with a bit more quality in the final third, it can lead to some huge scorelines.

Don’t forget you can always vote in the community ratings. The results thereof are included in the Breakdown and Ratings, in which I named Matt Pickens MOTM:

Matt Pickens 22.91 (99 minutes) – Community rating: 9.67

Pickens was blameless on the goal that was scored, and made a number of key saves and clearances with his fists. There’s still a moment or two per game where he’s going to misjudge a ball to his team’s major risk, but they didn’t bite the team in this one, and his distribution is a highly underrated asset.

He was good, folks. You can see the rest of the players’ ratings by clicking through above.

Finally, take a look at how Lebo Moloto’s goal came about in the Film Room.

Elsewhere – Blogdom

Golden Goal match story and player ratings.

Elsewhere – Newsy things

USA Today Network Tennessee recap. USL official site with the game story. USL’s Eleven things also touches on how both teams can be happy with a draw.

As always, thanks for visiting. Please fell free (nay, encouraged!) to share with friend 

 

The Wrap(s): Pittsburgh Riverhounds 0-1 Nashville SC, Nashville SC 3-1 Penn FC

After each USL game – or sometimes after two in a row! – I provide a handy recap of all the content related to that outing so you can find everything you need to get knowledgable about what went down. As always, if I missed anything, hit the comments, or the inbox via Twitter, Facebook, or e-mail

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Waning stages of the win over Penn FC. Tim Sullivan/For Club and Country

So as to ensure I’m not burying the lede here, for his efforts in both games, Brandon Allen was named the USL’s player of the week. He’s NSC’s first-ever recipient of the award (second nominee after Lebo Moloto’s brace against Louisville City just a couple weeks ago).

Pittsburgh Riverhounds

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Game story:

Playing Pittsburgh’s game (the Riverhounds dominated possession, and only two of Nashville’s 10 shots were on-target) and still coming away with a win is indicative of Smith’s ability to adapt in the second matchup against the same team – the Boys in Gold also beat Louisville City FC 2-0 at First Tennessee Park after a 2-0 road loss to begin the year.

“Really good win: really, really tough place to play,” Smith said.

Much more there.

Don’t forget you can always vote in the community ratings. The results thereof are included in the Breakdown and Ratings, in which I named Matt Pickens MOTM:

Matt Pickens 14.36 (98 minutes) – Community rating: 8.33

Pickens definitely was not perfect. He had some sketchy moments dealing with back-passes from teammates, and came out awkwardly to deal with a cross or two. At least one Pittsburgh effort would have beaten him if it’d been on-target. However, the rare shots the Riverhounds didn’t miss the frame with were handled by the veteran keeper, including after one of those goofs by a teammate. He was strong in dealing with corner kicks, his distribution was solid (especially on a night when “put it over the top of the defense” was an important tactic), and at the end of the day, the Hounds had zero goals, despite an NSC defense that wasn’t always great in front of Pickens.

He was good, folks. You can see the rest of the players’ ratings by clicking through above.

Elsewhere – Blogdom

Golden Goal match story and player ratings.

Elsewhere – Newsy things

USL site recap. DK Pittsburgh Sports on the match.

Penn FC

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Halftime reset:

It’s worth noting that, like they did in Harrisburg, Nashville’s players dominated the run of play. They had nearly 60% of possession, and while they were outshot 6-4, it certainly felt like a reluctance to pull the trigger on shots (like we saw in the previous game) played a bigger role in that disparity than Penn FC’s play.

…and the game story:

Nashville’s opening goal showed how slim the margins can be between utter disappointment and a cruise to victory. Once Allen’s ball found the net, it seemed the pressure left the pitch, with NSC more able to play freely. Moloto’s goal only made it a two-score advantage, but from that point forward, it felt like a rout.

The postgame presser video. Don’t forget about those community player ratings, and the results – as always – were included in the breakdown and ratings. Unsurprisingly (given he’s potentially the USL player of the week), Brandon Allen was your MOTM:

Brandon Allen 20.51 (81 minutes) – Community rating: 8.75

As I alluded to yesterday, Allen had about the closest thing as a striker can to a perfect outing. There were a couple missed opportunities (a Matt LaGrassa early cross hit him right in the numbers, but he couldn’t control the chest for an open shot at the top of the 18, for example), but it’s hard to fault him for not doing everything perfectly. He worries opposing backlines, making more room for Moloto and the midfield, and even if that were his only contribution, he’d be a valuable addition. Instead, he’s also dunking speculative crosses and dishing out assists on golazos. Oh, and being a factor in the high press in a big way – which is especially encouraging because that’s something he had the reputation for not doing at Bethlehem at the beginning of this year.

Community comment: “Best performance from anyone this year!”

See the rest of the players’ reviews at the link. “As I alluded to yesterday?,” you ask? That was The Graphical. Best of all, though (at least in my opinion), is the Film Room piece on Lebo Moloto’s banger to open the second half. A true team goal with a moment of individual brilliance to tie it all together:

Check it out (and follow the Gram while you’re there).

Elsewhere – Blogdom

Music City Soccer game story, and a little column on Gary Smith’s apparent beef with Penn FC coach Raoul Voss. Golden Goal game story and ratingsBrotherly Game with the view from the other touchline.

Elsewhere – Newsy things

USL official site game story. The league also touches on the game as it relates to the bigger picture (at the bottom), and some in the notebookPenn Live doesn’t have a good feel for game flow, given that there was never really a comeback chance. USA Today Network Tennessee on the game.

The Wrap: Charleston Battery 1-1 Nashville SC

After each USL game, I provide a handy recap of all the content related to that outing so you can find everything you need to get knowledgable about what went down. As always, if I missed anything, hit the comments, or the inbox via Twitter, Facebook, or e-mail

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Game story:

While Nashville would have chances, neither team would find the game-winner (at least a game-winner that counted) and split the points in the Holy City.

“It’s tinged with a little disappointment that we didn’t take all three points,” said head coach Gary Smith. “It was a solid performance; we are in a good run of form right now. There were one or two moments where we could have had more quality around the box, but the guys have shown a professional attitude on the road. Once we wake up in the morning with another road point we’ll be delighted.”

No chance to pull ahead was closer than Taylor Washington’s 69th-minute header – which actually found the back of the net, but was called back on what appeared to be minimal contact – and a foul on Washington.

The Graphical.

Don’t forget that you can vote in the community player ratings each week, and the results end up in the Breakdown and Player Ratings:

Michael Reed 14.77 (95 minutes) – Community rating: 7.00

Man of the Match

I’ve been a bit of a skeptic of Reed at times – he’s a decent player, right-place right-time, but rarely a difference-maker. In this game, with not a whole lot of offensive fireworks either way, his steady play in the middle was able to earn him man-of-the-match honors. The central midfield had plays to be made against the 3-4-3 formation, and Reed made them. He had a bit of a playmaking flair with a couple nice backheels that I wouldn’t have expected out of him, and on the basis of high involvement without the big mistake, he earns the honor.

Film room on why Nashville SC’s gameplan was dependent on firing a lot of crosses into the box (and how that will continue to apply this evening):

See this animation as Mensah is only picked up by the left centerback as the ball is played, while Moloto is unmarked in the box, aside from a defensive midfielder who’s tentatively trailing him, and the middle centerback who would have to react very quickly and close a ton of space if the ball goes to No. 10:

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This zonal marking and evening-up of the numbers makes for a really complicated set of communications, shifts, and responsibility changes during the course of the play for the defense.

Was a fun one to write, for sure.

Elsewhere – Blogdom

Soccer n Sweet Tea recaps the game. I found nothing from the Nashville side of things other than what appeared on this site, so I’ll plug it all again: scroll up and click through, y’all.

Elsewhere – Newsy things

USL site recap from the Charleston perspective. Quick thoughts from USA Today Network Tennessee. Local media recaps in Charleston. Ghana Soccer Net touches on Mensah.

The Wrap: Nashville SC 2-0 Louisville City

After each USL game, I provide a handy recap of all the content related to that outing so you can find everything you need to get knowledgable about what went down. As always, if I missed anything, hit the comments, or the inbox via Twitter, Facebook, or e-mail. As you’ve likely noticed, did not do this for the US Open Cup game (there just isn’t enough content around it). Should Nashville beat Mississippi Brilla tomorrow evening, I’ll begin The Wrap for the subsequent Open Cup games.

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Halftime reset. Game story:

While Louisville had already exhausted all three of its substitutions by the 67th minute, Nashville looked the fresher side up until – and then after – Moloto’s second goal in the 84th. The Man of the Match was subbed off shortly thereafter for defender Ryan James, and NSC was able to ride out the victory.

Postgame press conference video. Postgame column. The Graphical.

Don’t forget that you can vote in the community player ratings each week, and the results end up in the Breakdown and Player Ratings:

Lebo Moloto 20.24 (89 minutes) – Community rating: 9.45

Moloto has been really good in the past few game and not getting enough credit for it (whether it’s his own finishing coming up a touch short, or his final pass not getting the end product it deserved). He was, uh… well worth crediting here, folks. He started just a little slow, but put in good work in the high press to make things tough on Louisville’s patchwork backline. Also later in the game he had a really nice goal and then a header that was so much more impressive than he’ll ever get credit for. I guess that’s good?

Community comment: “Mensah and Moloto are starting to get really good chemistry – connecting really well.”

Film room on Lebo Moloto’s opening goal (with a little less going on the past week, I would have broken down the second goal as well – it was actually a bit more interesting – but c’est la vie):

Mensah gets the majority of credit here, though Moloto’s strike was obviously a good end product. Akinyode’s initial service to Mensah was good, and the savvy of Davis and Washington to give Mensah more space helped create the window. A great team goal.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1GTDwrRBtWo

Lots of good stuff this week(-plus).

Elsewhere – Blogdom

615 Formation game recapGolden Goal gamer. Player ratings from the Speedway Soccer partnership with GG. Recap parts one and two from Speedway. Nashville SC Soccer breaks it down a bit. A full accounting from Music City Soccer.

Elsewhere – Newsy things

USA Today Network Tennessee gamer. USL official site game recap. Local coverage from the Louisville side. A bit more from the USL in a roundup. Thunder 1320 with a tiny recapUSATNTn with its occasional check-in on the club.

The Wrap: New York Red Bulls II 1-1 Nashville SC

After each game, I provide a handy recap of all the content related to that outing so you can find everything you need to get knowledgable about what went down. As always, if I missed anything, hit the comments, or the inbox via Twitter, Facebook, or e-mail (and follow those social media outlets while you’re there).

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Halftime reset. Game story:

Ropapa Mensah put the visitors on the board first in the seventh minute, 20 minutes before Vincent Bezecourt would level the score after a beautiful through ball from midfielder Christopher Lema. At that point, you would have been safe to assume more goals were coming.

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Enjoy this photo of Matt LaGrassa. Tim Sullivan/For Club and Country

Game column:

Mensah had five total shots, three of them on the frame, and came away with a justifiable man of the match honor.

“I think the team is on the right path now, and with the help of the manager, I am confident in scoring more,” the 20-year old Ghanaian said. “The offense is getting better because we have been working really hard at training building that chemistry.”

Still, a 27th-minute equalizer – combined with the inability to find a second goal – from the Red Bulls prevented Nashville from taking all three points on the road.

Don’t forget that you can contribute to community player ratings each week. Those get compiled into the breakdown and player ratings, in which I also named Mensah MOTM:

Mensah got the sole NSC goal through an individual effort, he had numerous dangerous moments other than that, and he actually worked back pretty impressively in a re-press posture.

The Graphical had a look at how Nashville SC can build through the offensive midfield a bit more effectively, and how the number (and quality) of shots is certain to pay off sooner or later.

Elsewhere – Blogdom

Golden Goal game storyFront Row Soccer covers the game.

Elsewhere – Newsy things

The USL’s official recapUSA Today Network Tennessee gamer. There’s a lot of Ghanaians abroad coverage out there.