PHILADELPHIA – Nashville SC has developed a bit of a reputation – an unfair one, perhaps – for being incapable of coming from behind to win games. A fun fact or statistical quirk that the team hadn’t previously won after conceding the first goal in a contest? Certainly. A statistically significant failing unique to the club (particularly when considering its meager offense last year)? No.
Either way, the monkey can come off the team’s back given a 1-0 deficit turned into a 4-1 laugher in Philadelphia Sunday evening.
Bethlehem’s James Chambers – A USL stalwart and the Steel’s oldest player by nearly a decade – opened the scoring with a free-kick blast from inches outside the top of the Nashville SC penalty area in the 24th minute. Bradley Bourgeois’s foul on Faris Pemi Moumbagna may have prevented a goal from the run of play, but only momentarily as Chambers made the set piece count.
It wouldn’t take long for Nashville to answer the call with a set piece of its own. A Lebo Moloto free kick found the head of centerback Ken Tribbett, and the talented goal-scorer added yet another to his tally of 12 USL goals in four and a half years – not half-bad for a guy who is largely in the attacking half only on set pieces.
The teams would go into the half level, but it was Nashville who came out of the locker room – a phrase here meaning “circle of chairs exposed on the side of the pitch” – ready to win the game. Ropapa Mensah was the driving force behind two of the three goals, with his well-timed run to go one-v-one with the keeper creating the go-ahead score, and his attempted bicycle kick – with striker Cameron Lancaster knocking home the rebound – key on the team’s fourth goal. In between, right back Kosuke Kimura scored just his second goal since the 2010 season, another rebound that he slotted home with the left foot.
All told, the better team won on the day, with the adverse conditions of the venue change – La Salle University’s McCarthy Field was a gracious host, but not one remotely close to meeting USL specifications – no match for the class gulf between the two sides.
With the win, NSC remains firmly on-pace to finish in a lofty position on the table (currently third, but just fifth in points per game). The Boys in Gold remain in the Northeast to close out their current road swing, with a matchup against Hartford Athletic next Sunday in Connecticut.
- 23′ NSH Yellow card – 22 Bradley Bourgeois (foul)
- 24′ BST GOAL – 45 James Chambers (right footed free kick)
- 27′ NSH GOAL – 6 Ken Tribbett (headed), assisted by 10 Lebo Moloto (corner kick)
- 41′ NSH Yellow card – 20 Matt LaGrassa (foul)
- 42′ BST Yellow card – 47 Wálter Cortés (foul)
- 45’+3 Half time.
- 49′ BST Yellow card – 45 James Chambers (foul)
- 58′ BST Yellow card – On 38 Zachary Zandi, off 63 Shanyder Borgelin
- 63′ NSH GOAL – 3 Ropapa Mensah (right foot), assisted by 10 Lebo Moloto (through ball)
- 66′ NSH Substitution – On 9 Cameron Lancaster, off 14 Daniel Ríos
- 70′ NSH GOAL – 27 Kosuke Kimura (left foot, rebound)
- 78′ NSH Substitutions
- On 11 Kharlton Belmar, off 11 Lebo Moloto
- On 30 Bolu Akinyode, off 20 Matt LaGrassa
- 80′ NSH Yellow card – 3 Ropapa Mensah (foul)
- 83′ NSH GOAL – 9 Cameron Lancaster (right foot, rebound)
- 86′ BST Substitution – On 37 Selmir Miscic, off59 Axel Picazo
- 90’+6 Full time