Welcome to The Wrap, wherein I recap the content from last week’s Nashville SC game. This time around, it’s a big road win in Philadelphia.
Given the lack of press facilities at the stadium, no story from halftime, but here’s the Game story:
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 right wingback didn’t exactly fire a laser – his left-footed shot bounced once before sneaking past Carlos – but what counts is finding twine, and he did just that.
“I was running and the ball came, and I just told myself, ‘Just keep it down, keep it down,’” Kimura said with a laugh. “That’s all I focused on. I put it all the frame, and just tried to put it on the ground, and it worked.”
The final tally would be provided by a player who is somehow the most and least likely source.
The voting post for your community ratings, and here are the results (for what it’s worth, less than a quarter of the typical number of responses .Don’t forget to vote each game! Maybe I won’t forget to publish the ratings post immediately after the end of the game next time!):
- Man of the match: F Ropapa Mensah: 8.89
- GK Connor Sparrow: 8.00 Community comment:
- “His saves in the second half made him MOTM”
- D Kosuke Kimura: 8.44
- D Ken Tribbett: 8.33 Community comment:
- “Goal, not responsible on the Bethlehem goal”
- D Taylor Washington: 7.56
- D Justin Davis: 7.44
- D Bradley Bourgeois: 6.11 Community comments:
- “Lucky he was in the game after the take down. Can’t get beat to put yourself in that position”
- “Had a fine game, but the one moment.”
- M/F Lebo Moloto: 8.11
- M Michael Reed: 7.56
- M Matt LaGrassa: 7.44 Community comment:
- “Quieter this game.”
- F Daniel Ríos: 6.00 Community comment:
- “Didn’t find form with some rest :(“
- F Cameron Lancaster (66′): 8.00
- M Bolu Akinyode (78′): 6.44
- F Kharlton Belmar (78′): 6.33
- Head coach Gary Smith: 8.44 Community comment:
- “One individual mistake was the only bad moment all game, pretty much?”
- Overall team rating: 8.22
That’s a 3-4-1-2. Lebo Moloto is the attacking midfielder, the central midfielders are pretty conservative, and that’s allowing the wingbacks to be purely offensive players, except in settled defense.
Take a look at a couple heatmaps that demonstrate the point:
That’s the three centerbacks on the left, and the pair of wingbacks – I’ll just call them wide midfielders, at this point – on the right. (The blob in the attacking penalty box represents Ken Tribbett’s set piece contributions, including his goal).
Film room on Nashville’s increased aggression from wingbacks resulting in Kimura’s goal:
With both strikers and Moloto in scoring areas (and both Lancaster and Mensah having chances at the ball), Kimura was unmarked in the box, and was able to bang it home.
A solid team goal, facilitated by multiple factors, not least of which was the narrowness of the field that Gary Smith had been so concerned about coming into the game.
…and the GIFening.
Gamer from Speedway, along with their chalkboard and player ratings. Philly Soccer Page match report. Ropapa goal means GHANAWEB. Brotherly Game match recap. Kimura was named to the league’s Team of the Week. Nashville SC official site recap.