NASHVILLE – Nashville SC controlled play early against the Tampa Bay Rowdies, with four shots in the first 16 minutes of the game. Kharlton Belmar had a golden chance with a free header at the back post that glanced just wide. However, that would be the final shot of the first half for the Boys in Gold, while Tampa Bay would strike first.
On a free kick just outside the side of Nashville’s penalty area, Leo Fernandes’s service found striker Sebastian Guenzatti at the back post. He nodded it back across to his strike partner Juan Tejada, and the 22-year old hammered it home with his right foot. The Rowdies went into the break with the lead, and a defensive second half ensued. In fact, Tejada’s goal would prove to be the lone tally in a 1-0 Rowdies win.
Nashville SC attempted to pour on the pressure, launching six shots. However, only one – a strike from distance by midfield substitute Lebo Moloto – was on the frame of goal, and the lefty blast was easily corralled by Rowdies keeper John McCarthy.
While Nashville SC’s 3-5-2 formation seemed to be more fluid than in recent games when it came to generating offense through the middle of the pitch, the Boys in Gold just couldn’t find that moment against a stout Rowdies defense to level the score. The best chance came on a near-repeat of Belmar’s first-half chance, with Justin Davis’s cross finding striker Daniel Ríos on the back post, but once again, the glancing header ended wide of the near post.
Ríos failed to score for the third straight game (and from the run of play in five straight, with a penalty kick to his name against the Charleston Battery), and was one of several Nashville players who seemed to have miscommunications in the final third when it came to the final pass before a shot.
Nashville won’t have much time to regroup: they have just two days of rest before Swope Park Rangers come to First Tennessee Park. While the Sporting Kansas City reserve team isn’t as intimidating an opponent as Tampa, NSC will be hungry to get back on the right foot, and can’t misstep against Swope.
- 34′ TBR GOAL – 17 Juan Tejada (right foot), assisted by 13 Sebastian Guenzatti (headed, set piece)
- 36′ NSH Yellow card – 21 Darnell King (foul)
- 45’+1 Half time
- 46′ NSH Substitution – On 9 Cameron Lancaster, off 21 Darnell King
- 61′ TBR Substitution – On 19 Shawn Barry, off 5 David Najem
- 63′ NSH Substitution – On 10 Lebo Moloto, off 30 Bolu Akinyode
- 78′ NSH Substitution – On 19 Alan Winn, off 23 Taylor Washington
- 79′ TBR Substitution – On 42 Mohamed Kone, off 19 Shawn Barry (injury)
- 83′ TBR Substitution – On 88 Kwadwo Poku, off 15 Andrew Tinari
- 90′ TBR Yellow card – 4 Tarek Morad (time wasting)
- 90’+4 Full time