NASHVILLE – After clawing back level with an 84th-minute goal from Justin Davis, Nashville SC gave up a stoppage time winner to give up all three points to Bethlehem Steel. Pushing for the winner, NSC found itself exposed at the back, and a save from Matt Pickens could only spill the ball to Adam Najem, who slotted home with only seconds remaining to result in a gut-wrenching loss for the Boys in Gold by a 2-1 count.
At the half, a game-tying goal for Nashville SC looked like it would come from one of the attacking duo of Alan Winn and Ropapa Mensah. In reality, it didn’t arrive until both had left the field. While both offensive players had a solid night – in a tough position, down a man after Ish Jome’s 31st-minute red card – the complexion of Nashville SC’s offense changed when new signing Kris Tyrpak made his first appearance, and Matt LaGrassa entered in the midfield. Tyrpak and LaGrassa combined for several dangerous moments, and earned a number of corner kicks for the Boys in Gold.
The game-tyer would nonetheless come from the run of play, with Lebo Moloto slotting a through ball to left back Davis. Davis would make no mistake slotting far post, canceling out Chris Nanco’s first-half tally for Bethlehem.
Najem was the stoppage-time hero for the Steel, giving NSC only its second home loss on the year. Holding the Steel level for more than an hour down a man after Jome’s sending off is hardly the greatest consolation prize for a Nashville team that needs to earn points – and earn wins – to find itself playing in the postseason.
Nashville should be able to get back on the right foot Tuesday, welcoming one of the league’s worst teams, Richmond Kickers, to First Tennessee Park for a midweek tilt. Of course, we’ve seen that even low-level competition can be dangerous (a loss to Toronto in Rochester will be tough to forget).
On a night when several other results broke their way (Indy and Charleston tied Atlanta United and New York, respectively, with those teams among the competitors for playoff positioning), Nashville couldn’t get the job done.
- 6′ BST Substitution – On 43 Prosper Chiluya, off 32 Matt Real (injured)
- 23′ BST GOAL – 23 Chris Nanco (right footed), assisted by 45 James Chambers
- 27′ NSH Yellow card – 11 Ish Jome (foul)
- 31′ NSH RED CARD – 11 Ish Jome (second yellow, foul)
- 45′ BST Yellow card – 5 Oliver Mbaizo (foul)
- 45’+6 – Half time.
- 62′ NSH Substitution – On 26 Kris Tyrpak, off 19 Alan Winn
- 64′ BST Substitution – On 38 Santi Moar, off 35 Faris
- 72′ NSH Substitutions – On 12 Tucker Hume and 20 Matt LaGrassa, off 3 Ropapa Mensah and 17 Michael Reed
- 74′ BST Substitution – On 39 Drew Skundrich, off 63 Brenden Aaronson
- 84′ NSH GOAL – 2 Justin Davis (left foot), assisted by 10 Lebo Moloto
- 90’+3 BST GOAL – Adam Najem (right foot)
- 90’+4 Full time