Nashville SC

The Wrap(s): Nashville SC takes four points from Birmingham and Indy

Welcome to The Wrap, wherein I recap the content from last week’s Nashville SC game. In this edition, it’s a double-dip with a win over Birmingham Legion and draw at Indy Eleven.

Birmingham Legion

Game story:

Converting more of those opportunities to provide more scoring is hardly rocket science, and the team is acutely aware of how close they are (but also aware of the difference between “close” and “there”).

“There was a great attitude from the outset, some nice energy and I think we started
the brighter side,” head coach Gary Smith said. “When you don’t take advantage of those moments, it deflates the team. They have flashbacks too. They’re only human. And then the opposing side get themselves back into the game and feel better about themselves. They regroup, they feel as though there’s still plenty to play for having not gone behind and I thought they did a very good job of getting through that sticky period and making our lives very difficult.”

The voting post for your community ratings, and here are the results:

  • Man of the match: GK Matt Pickens: 9.75 Community comment:
    • “Had a couple tough saves (and a couple easy ones).
  • D Ken Tribbett: 8.00
  • D Justin Davis: 7.87
  • D Darnell King: 7.50
  • D Bradley Bourgeois: 6.75
    • “Let players in behind”
  • M Matt LaGrassa: 8.00
  • M Michael Reed: 5.13 Community comment:
    • “Umm…”
  • M Bolu Akinyode: 4.87 Community comment:
    • “Love Bolu, but woof”
  • M/F Alan Winn: 9.00 Community comment:
    • “Best player on the field”
  • M/F Kharlton Belmar: 8.00
  • F Daniel Ríos: 7.75 Community comment:
    • “Hit the penalty. Meh otherwise”
  • M/F Derrick Jones (63′): 8.00 Community comment:
    • “Night and day upgrade”
  • D Taylor Washington (71′): 6.25
    • “Has to be more consistent, but good”
  • M/F Ropapa Mensah (83′): 7.00 Community comments:
  • Head coach Gary Smith: 7.75
  • Overall team rating: 6.00

The Graphical:

Check out their average positions in the midfield:

Screen Shot 2019-05-24 at 10.46.40 AM
Birmingham in tan attacking left-to-right

Those guys are pinched in so tight (and it’s not a trick of flipping sides or anything, other than 30 Razak Cromwell playing as little wider, this is just where they tended to be), and 10 Prosper Kasim, typically a pure offensive midfielder, sunk to play a defensive role, rather than seek goal. The strikers were isolated waaaaay up front, disconnected from any service.

Birmingham’s fullbacks typically get high up the pitch to play an offensive role. They did no such thing in this one, instead taking conservative positionings.

…and the GIFening, with my favorite GIF of the year to date:


Film room on how Alan Winn and the (rarely-used) high press created the scoring opportunity that Daniel Ríos eventually finished from the spot:

As Laurent tries to cycle around the back to fellow CB Femi Hollinger-Janzen, Nashville winger Alan Winn sees a pressing key.

Winn fires forward, putting some pressure on Femi. While he doesn’t beat the CB to the ball, he does worry him enough that Femi… does something?… and doesn’t end up receiving the pass. As he lets it go past, Winn seizes the opportunity, taking it away.


Birmingham content from elsewhere: Speedway game story, chalkboard, and player ratings … USA Today Network – Tennessee gamer … Official site story.

Indy Eleven

Game story:

Visiting one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference, there’s no shame in earning a draw, and Nashville remains No. 2 in the table by picking up a point.

“I thought the team conducted themselves in a wonderful fashion,” Nashville SC head coach Gary Smith said. “This is a very, very difficult place to come and play. I don’t think the surface or the environment lends itself to great soccer. They’re a very good side, and I would hazard to guess that their form here is going to be pretty good all year.”

The voting post for your community ratings, and here are the results:

  • Man of the match: GK Matt Pickens: 8.80 Community comment:
    • “Had a couple tough saves (and a couple easy ones).
  • D Ken Tribbett: 8.60
  • D Liam Doyle: 8.60
  • D Bradley Bourgeois: 8.40 Community comment:
    • “Got away with the handball”
  • D Taylor Washington: 8.40
  • D Kosuke Kimura: 8.20
  • M Matt LaGrassa: 8.40
  • M Derrick Jones: 8.00
  • M Lebo Moloto: 7.00
  • F Tucker Hume: 7.00
  • F Ropapa Mensah: 6.20
  • M/F Kharlton Belmar (69′): 6.80
  • F Daniel Ríos (77′): 6.80
  • M Bolu Akinyode (90’+4): 8.00
  • Head coach Gary Smith: 8.20 Community comment:
    • “I don’t like playing for the draw, but if that’s what you want to do, his plan was perfect.”
  • Overall team rating: 6.80

The Graphical:

We built cross city on crossing ballllllls

Remember last year when Nashville played a three-man backline, they’d always launch a metric ton of crosses? Yeah, they did that to Indy.

Screen Shot 2019-05-27 at 10.57.34 AM.pngThat’s a lot of crosses, and basically none of them successful (except for on that’s not a genuine cross; it’s a short-corner set piece that for some reason is showing up in open play crosses).

There’s also something to be said for the nature of Indy’s offensive structure here, with wingbacks (particularly Ayoze García Perez, though he’s only responsible for a couple of the crosses) who really like to get up the edges of the pitch and provide service, but don’t have much in the way of cutting inside. They also have a banged-up and ineffective front line – and that ineffectiveness is despite adding one of 2018’s top USL players, Thomas Enevoldsen, though not having a clue how to use him is part of the issue there.

The GIFening:

ayozeface.2019-06-02 18_57_44

and a Film Room on the promise (some of it still to be filled) that’s presented by Ropapa Mensah:

Look at the space he should be taking:

Screen Shot 2019-06-03 at 12.48.03 PM.jpg
He has Hackshaw beaten, but chops it back and has to return it to Kimura.
Screen Shot 2019-06-03 at 12.48.46 PM.jpg
He has all sorts of space to gobble up here, but takes a slowdown control-touch and sends an early cross to Hume

Neither of these is a bad play, per se, but that doesn’t make it the right play, either.

Indy content from elsewhere: USATN-TN gamer … Chalkboard from Speedway … NSC official site story.


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