LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Nashville SC didn’t necessarily come out flat in Lynn Stadium Wednesday evening – they fired 15 shots to the hosts’ 12 and controlled 55.2% of possession – but the quality in the final third just wasn’t there as they fell to Louisville City FC by a 2-1 score. Paco Craig scored for Louisville in the 24th minute, and Paolo DelPiccolo added another in the 58th, and while Matt LaGrassa got Nashville on the board in with just over 20 minutes in regulation, Nashville couldn’t find the equalizer.
Thus ends the club’s US Open Cup run, with Louisville advancing to the quarterfinals, where they’re slated to take on MLS side Chicago Fire July 18.
“I don’t understand on a one-off occasion, with the run we are on, why we just wouldn’t go and feel more confident about ourselves,” said Nashville head coach Gary Smith. “We were too slow to get into our rhythm. Saying that, they were certainly the better team in the first half and we were the better team in the second half. We had enough chances to not only take that game into overtime, but to possibly have won it. I think with how the game unfolded, a draw was a fair result, but unfortunately it was not to be.”
LaGrassa earned the surprise start after a couple weaker performances in USL play, and vindicated the choice by heading home a London Woodberry cross to give his team hope after digging into a 2-0 hole. While Nashville buzzed the net in the second half, they were unable to find the back of it.
Ropapa Mensah missed an open net moments after hitting the frame when the score was just 1-0, and six shots after LaGrassa closed the margin back to 2-1 all were unable to trouble Louisville backup keeper Tim Dobrowolsi.
“We have been on a good streak and all good streaks have to come to an end at some point, but you hope it comes in a game where things didn’t go your way,” LaGrassa said. “It wasn’t our best performance to start the game. We started too slow. It came back to bite us.”
Louisville will be this year’s USL darling in the US Open Cup (fellow league side Sacramento Republic fell to LAFC on the road Wednesday night, and all seven remaining teams outside of Louisville are MLS sides), while Nashville will have an opportunity to take a step back from cup competition and focus on USL play.
The team current sits fourth in the USL’s Eastern Conference, and takes on No. 6 Indy Eleven Tuesday in the friendly confines of First Tennessee Park. A victory could push Nashville as high as second in the conference, with a game in-hand on No. 1 FC Cincinnati.
- 24′ LOU GOAL – 5 Paco Craig (right foot), assist to 19 Oscar Jimenez
- 35′ LOU Yellow card – 36 Paolo DelPiccolo (foul)
- 45’+2 Half time
- 52′ – LOU Yellow card – 10 Brian Ownby (foul)
- 58′ LOU GOAL – 36 Paolo DelPiccolo (left foot)
- 62′ NSH Substitutions – On 23 Taylor Washington, off 2 Justin Davis. On 32 Brandon Allen, off 3 Ropapa Mensah.
- 65′ NSH Substitution – On 19 Alan Winn, off 11 Ish Jome
- 66′ LOU Substitution – On 21 Shaun Francis, off 19 Oscar Jimenez
- 68′ NSH GOAL – 20 Matt LaGrassa (headed), assist to 28 London Woodberry
- 76′ LOU Substitution – On 7 Magnus Rasmussen, off 10 Brian Ownby