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.
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).
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.
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
Elsewhere – Newsy things
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 ratings. Brotherly 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 notebook. Penn 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.