For the second time this season, Nashville SC was likely the better team on the field when squaring off against FC Cincinnati, but for the second time, they failed to make it count for all three points, settling for a 1-1 draw in Nippert Stadium Saturday evening.
It could have been worse than that, too. Cincinnati struck within the first minute of the contest, when an Alan Winn pass intended for Bolu Akinyode was intercepted en route. Left back Justin Davis had to step up to slow down the man, and Akinyode didn’t switch off, setting Danni Konig and Emmanuel Ledesma off for a 2-on-2 with Nashville’s center backs. Konig didn’t need to use his teammate, cutting back across Liam Doyle with midfield support late to arrive, and burying a shot past keeper Matt Pickens.
The game would settle down from that point with Nashville SC the more impressive side – 52.4% of possession for the game, 19 shots to Cincy’s four (with five of those shots on the goal), seven corners to FCC’s three – but unable to make the most of it. That changed in the 85th minute when surprise starter Tucker Hume’s pass to substitute striker Ropapa Mensah was bobbled, but fortunately bounded right back to Hume. His lefty finish was the equalizer and allowed the Boys in Gold to head home with a point taken off the league leaders.
“I was fortunate enough to get a start and you know it was a big opportunity and a big occasion,” Hume said. “Top of the league, away at Cincy, unbelievable atmosphere. So thankful to be able to hit the back of the net and get a great result on the road.”
Nashville was clearly in the mood to attack, with traditionally defensive-minded midfielders Michael Reed and Akinyode pushed extremely high at times, especially later in the game when Nashville had to push for a goal. Against the same 4-4-2 diamond formation that FC Cincinnati had run in Nissan Stadium, there was also plenty of space for the wings to roam.
““This has been one of the hardest working weeks coming off that result against Toronto, we needed to come back,” said defender/midfielder Taylor Washington. “A little change and I think you saw today that Matt LaGrassa was able to open up some space, and I was able to get down the line. It’s not hard to find Tucker. He’s such an advantage for us. I think the way we looked tonight is dangerous.”
The result wasn’t everything Nashville had hoped for – after all, they could have picked up all three points with just another lucky bounce or two – but off a run of form with a 1-3 record, including the loss to a very poor Toronto FC II team, tying the league leaders on the road is hardly something to be ashamed of. The way the team played, with a freer, more open and adventurous offense, provides some indication that there’s more to come from a side that was at one point near the top of the league itself.
NSC will try to avenge one of the recent losses when it hosts Ottawa Fury Friday evening in First Tennessee Park. Perhaps Hume will get his second consecutive start against his former team, given that the more standard personnel were unable to get it done when Nashville traveled to Ottawa just a couple weeks ago. Whoever is on the field, if Nashville is able to pick up all three points, the season will be comfortably on the right track again.
1 Evan Newton GK
32 Justin Hoyte
23 Blake Smith
21 Dekel Keinan (C)
3 Forrest Lasso
13 Michael Lahoud
6 Kenney Walker
5 Nazmi Albadawi
19 Corben Bone
45 Emmanuel Ledesma
11 Danni Konig
18 Matt Pickens GK
27 Kosuke Kimura
2 Justin Davis
28 London Woodberry
5 Liam Doyle
17 Michael Reed (C)
20 Matt LaGrassa
30 Bolu Akinyode
23 Taylor Washington
12 Tucker Hume
19 Alan Winn
- 1′ CIN GOAL – 1 Danni Konig (left foot) assisted by 5 Nazmi Albadawi
- 30′ CIN Yellow card – 3 Forrest Lasso (foul)
- 45’+2 Half time
- 60′ CIN Yellow card – 6 Kenney Walker (foul)
- 66′ NSH Double substitution – On 11 Ish Jome and 3 Ropapa Mensah, off 27 Kosuke Kimura and 19 Alan Winn
- 67′ CIN Substitution – On 4 Tyler Gibson, off 6 Kenney Walker
- 71′ CIN Yellow card – 11 Danni Konig (foul)
- 73′ CIN Substitution – On 9 Fanendo Adi, off 11 Danni Konig
- 74′ NSH Substitution – On 10 Lebo Moloto, off 17 Michael Reed
- 76′ CIN Substitution – On 20 Jimmy McLaughlin, off 5 Nazmi Albadawi
- 85′ NSH GOAL – 12 Tucker Hume (left foot) assisted by 3 Ropapa Mensah
- 90’+1 NSH Yellow card – 3 Ropapa Mensah (dissent)
- 90’+3 NSH Yellow card – 2 Justin Davis (time wasting)
- 90’+4 Full time