NASHVILLE – For the better bart of the inaugural I-40 rivalry (or Billboard Bash, whatever name you prefer to give it), it looked like Nashville’s superiority over visiting Memphis 901 FC would go unrewarded. A massive advantage in shots saw NSC fail to find the back of the net until just 12 minutes remained in the contest.
Then, it was substitute Ropapa Mensah who created a bit of magic. The 21-year old Ghanaian collected a throw-in, and managed to keep the ball at his feet and dish to midfielder Matt LaGrassa. LaGrassa’s third shot of the game turned out to be the best. He touched himself into space and slotted home past Memphis keeper Jeff Caldwell.
Mensah would get one himself just three minutes later. Justin Davis’s corner kick service was headed on by striker Daniel Ríos, and found Mensah at the goalmouth. While his headed shot was saved, Caldwell could only get it as far as his feet, and Mensah put his own rebound home. Doubling the advantage was more than enough, and Memphis couldn’t mount a serious attack – they only had a couple all evening, with two solid saves from Nashville keeper Matt Pickens – to pull one back.
It had been a frustrating night to that point, beginning with a 78-minute lightning delay, and 78 scoreless minutes once the match actually kicked off. Nashville fans will gladly remember the final result, rather than the tense moments that preceded it.
Next up, Nashville will travel to Charleston Battery Saturday at 6:30 p.m CDT.
- 45’+3 – Half time
- 46′ MEM Substitutions
- On 14 Rashawn Dally, off 13 Oliver White
- On 20 Todd Pratzner, off 15 Jacob Hauser-Ramsey
- 64′ NSH Substitutions
- On 19 Alan Winn, off 10 Lebo Moloto
- On 3 Ropapa Mensah, off 12 Tucker Hume
- 78′ NSH GOAL 20 Matt LaGrassa (left-footed), assisted by 3 Ropapa Mensah
- 81′ NSH GOAL 3 Ropapa Mensah (right-footed, rebound)
- 85′ MEM Yellow card 8 Marc Burch (dissent)
- 85′ NSH Substitution – On 30 Bolu Akinyode, off 20 Matt LaGrassa
- 89′ MEM Yellow card – 22 Wes Charpie (foul)
- 90′ MEM Yellow card – 18 Elliott Collier (dissent)
- 90’+3 Full time