NASHVILLE – Neither team felt comfortable out of the gate, with Nashville having trouble finding openings in Louisville’s 3-4-3 formation, and the Boys in Purple unable to find the finesse to put anything particularly close to the target headed in the other direction. In the 37th minute, though, the game changed.
A longball to Ropapa Mensah down the left edge of the penalty area saw the big Ghanaian striker cut back, and play to the top of the 18. There, he had midfielder Matt LaGrassa waiting for a left-footed strike. LaGrassa never found the ball, because forward Lebo Moloto beat him to the punch. Moloto’s blast with his right slid under LCFC keeper Greg Ranjitsingh, and Nashville earned a lead on the defending champs.
It was a relief for Moloto, who led the team in shots taken through the first several games, but was unable to muster much in the way of dangerous chances. It was also Nashville’s first goal from anyone other than Mensah since the 24th minutes of the contest against Charlotte – four full games ago.
There’s no guarantee the Boys in Gold will complete the upset – indeed, it would be surprising if Louisville City was unable to at least mount a serious challenge – but headed into the break, there’s a lot to like about the way the scoreline looks.
- 37′ NSH GOAL – 10 Lebo Moloto from 3 Ropapa Mensah
- 45+1 Half time