Rainy days have become a regular fixture when the Boys in Gold will take the field, and 2019’s season opener was no difference. The sloppy weather carried over to some of Nashville’s play in the first half, with a number of sterling chances – including Lebo Moloto with the ball at his feet, two yards out from goal, past the keeper – left wanting.
However, the creation of those chances carried over into the second half, and some of NSC’s high-profile new players managed to open the scoring account for the year. Cameron Lancaster floated a 58th-minute header to the far post on a corner kick, and Nashville SC got on the board. Just three minutes later, his fellow MLS signing, Daniel Ríos, scored unassisted to give Nashville the 2-0 lead.
The Boys in Gold began their defensively-oriented subs shortly thereafter, inserting Justin Davis for Lancaster to create a five-man backline, and then minutes later, Tucker Hume replaced Ríos to be a hold-up striker and allow NSC to run out the game by playing long. At full time, the 2-0 score held, and Nashville is undefeated to begin the 2019 season.
A frustrating beginning to his Nashville career continued for winger Kharlton Belmar, who was one of the best players on the night but couldn’t find the end product that shows on the scoresheet. Should he continue to create those moments of danger, though, certainly the conversions should come.
Nashville dominated possession – 60.3% in their favor – and took 17 shouts to Loudoun’s eight (to say nothing of those sequences that frustratingly didn’t end in a shot). On a sharper night, this game could have turned out ugly. That’s the type of performance Nashville will have to aspire to if their goals of a conference title and USL Cup championship are to be met.
Nashville next hosts St. Louis FC – a surprise winner over Eastern Conference contender Indy Eleven this afternoon – in a week. The 7 p.m. Saturday game will take place, once again, at First Tennessee Park.
- 45’+2 Half time
- 58′ NSH GOAL – 9 Cameron Lancaster (headed), assisted by 10 Lebo Moloto (corner kick)
- 59′ LDN Substitution – On 15 Griffin Yow, off 20 Elian Nalerio
- 61′ NSH GOAL – 14 Daniel Ríos (right-footed), unassisted
- 62′ LDN Substitution – On 20 Shinya Kadono, off 17 Andrew Lubahn
- 71′ NSH Substitution – On 2 Justin Davis, off 9 Cameron Lancaster
- 76′ LDN Substitution – On 5 Noahj Pilato, off 23 Sandor Bustamante
- 81′ NSH Substitution – On 12 Tucker Hume, off 14 Daniel Ríos
- 87′ NSH Yellow Card – 10 Lebo Moloto (time wasting)
- 90′ NSH Substitution – On 7 Ramone Howell, off 11 Kharlton Belmar
- 90’+3 Full time