NASHVILLE – The local pro team may not get as much out of a friendly against a college soccer side as they would against more comparable competition, but Nashville SC still gained plenty from its 4-1 win over Lipscomb University.
A mixed lineup of first-choice and squad players managed to race out to a 2-0 lead on a second-minute goal from Tucker Hume and one in the ninth minute from the foot of Lebo Moloto. The Boys in Gold presented plenty more chances, but couldn’t find that finishing touch until after mass subs in the 62nd minute.
Immediately after eight changes to the Nashville lineup, Lipscomb actually drew back within a single goal on a long-range blast from midfielder Ryan Birchfield. A failed clearance after a Lipscomb corner saw Birchfield collect the ball 25 yards from goal and strike into the corner. Nashville keeper Danny Vitiello didn’t stand much of a chance with plenty of traffic obscuring his view of the shot.
NSC would put the game away, though, with Cameron Lancaster finishing one of the more unconventional goals you’ll see. An errant backpass to keeper Luke Wilson saw him have to make a diving save to prevent a 50-yard own goal, but the resulting indirect free kick (from inside the penalty spot) saw Lancaster smoothly find side-netting through a wall of nearly the entire Bisons squad. Lancaster’s fellow MLS-bound striker Daniel Ríos finished things in the 84th minute, staying composed over a cross that was tipped to him and slotting it home.
Of course, looking at the front two, they score when they come on, bodes well,” said Nashville SC head coach Gary Smith. “I’d like to see a lot more of them together, but
preseason has been that way: They’ve both had their little issues [coming back from 2018 injuries].
“I like the look of both of them. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be here. When I’ve seen them work together in training, which has just been a little bit more in the last week to 10 days because they’ve both had little nagging problems, there’s been a real nice synergy. They’re both bright soccer players, they’re intelligent with their movement, they’re clinical around the area and as you see, they’ve got so many tricks in the bag when they get close to goal.”
Moloto’s goal was his first since returning from an injury suffered in the stretch run of the 2018 season. After missing the conclusion to the year, and failing to score in the first four preseason games, it was nice for the South African midfielder to get into the scoring column.
“It felt good to obviously be on the score sheet,” he said. “I think at this point, the more confident I can get coming back from an injury, I think the better. To get a goal is always a good feeling.”
A little confidence will be a big boost heading into the weekend’s final tune-up match. Fellow Eastern Conference favorite Indy Eleven beckons Saturday in Evansville, Indiana. With each squad making major offseason moves, getting a chance to see each other before the games count should be a solid measuring stick for the 2019 USL Championship race.
Lipscomb substitutions not noted here. 12 Zarek Jakubowski, 14 Ryan Birchfield, 17 Chase Carraher, 20 Malik Shaheed, and 22 Robel Tadesse entered the game for the Bisons.
- 2′ NSH GOAL – 12 Tucker Hume, assisted by 11 Kharlton Belmar – this could just as easily have been credited as an own goal.
- 9′ NSH GOAL – 10 Lebo Moloto (right-footed), unassisted.
- 45′ Half time
- 55′ LIP Yellow card – 5 Daniel Mühlbauer (foul)
- 62′ NSH substitutions:
- On 14 Daniel Ríos, off 12 Tucker Humer
- On 9 Cameron Lancaster, off 10 Lebo Moloto
- On 20 Matt LaGrassa, off 30 Bolu Akinyode
- On 17 Michael Reed, off 8 Vinnie Vermeer
- On 4 Malcolm Stewart, off 4 Ramone Howell
- On 23 Taylor Washington, off 2 Justin Davis
- On 27 Kosuke Kimura, off 21 Darnell King
- On 6 Ken Tribbett, off 22 Bradley ?Bourgeois
- 64′ LIP GOAL – 14 Ryan Birchfield (right-footed), no assist
- 74′ NSH GOAL – 9 Cameron Lancaster (right footed), assisted by 17 Michael Reed (set piece)
- 84′ NSH GOAL – 14 Daniel Ríos (right footed), unassisted
- 90′ Full time