Nashville SC

The Wrap: Louisville City FC 2-1 Nashville SC

Welcome to The Wrap, wherein I recap the content from last week’s Nashville SC game. An early lead evaporated like the health of Nashville SC’s players just up the road in Louisville.

Local content

Game story:

Then, the players started dropping. Lancaster was subbed out (for Ropapa Mensah) with an injury just 29 minutes into the game, and Ríos came up lame (but remained on the field until the end) shortly thereafter. Kharlton Belmar replaced Michael Reed at the half, and midfielder Matt LaGrassa had to be replaced after an injury of his own in the 69th minute, with Lebo Moloto coming on.

In between, Louisville managed to not only ramp up the pressure, but turn it into a pair of goals. Two outstanding early saves from Nashville keeper Connor Sparrow portended poor things about what would happen when the amount of pressure ramped up, and Louisville finally broke the dam in the 65th minute.

The game column with quotes from the postgame provided by NSC media relations:

When Tribbett has played, Nashville is 7-2-4 with an average of 0.62 goals allowed. Certainly Nashville can’t be so dependent upon a single player, but something has to get better if this team is to achieve its season-long objectives.

“There’s certainly a lot of food for thought in the way that we’re conceding goals at the moment,” Smith said. “It’s just too easy for teams to create and to find a way back into the game. When the front guys are not hitting the back of the net as regularly as they were – and against good teams – that’s just not going to happen. The backline has just got to be stronger, it’s got to be tighter. They’ve got to fight harder for the points, and today I felt there was more we could have done.”

The voting post for your community ratings, and here are the results (don’t forget to vote each game!):

  • Man of the match: F Daniel Ríos: 7.86
  • GK Connor Sparrow: 7.14
  • D Taylor Washington: 7.00 Community comment:
    • “The shot he scuffed will probably haunt him”
  • D Bradley Bourgeois: 6.43
  • D Liam Doyle: 6.43
  • D Darnell King: 6.29
  • D Justin Davis: 5.29
  • M Matt LaGrassa: 7.29 Community comment:
    • “Hope he’s OK”
  • M Bolu Akinyode: 6.57
  • M Michael Reed: 5.86
  • F Cameron Lancaster: 6.43
  • F Ropapa Mensah (29′): 5.71
  • M Lebo Moloto (69′): 5.29
  • M/F Kharlton Belmar (46′): 5.12 Community comment:
    • “Invisible”
  • Head coach Gary Smith: 5.86 Community comment:
    • Second game in a row with truly bad tactical decisions to start the game
  • Overall team rating: 6.43

The Graphical:

So how did Louisville City force Nashville into horrible possession? By pressing high up the field, and forcing the Boys in Gold to play over it. Even when things got better in the second half, it certainly didn’t come from playing out of the back:

Screen Shot 2019-07-08 at 6.38.01 PM.png

That’s way, way more long passes than Nashville would like to play generally.

Upon further review, it seemed as much like a Nashville tactical decision as a strategy forced by Louisville, which would make it worse, IMO.

The GIFening has a couple sublime shots:

riosgoal.2019-07-10 13_23_05

Check it out for more of them.

A pair of film room pieces this week, the first was a chance that turned into a Louisville goal, the second a chance that didn’t turn into a goal (but can be really informative for NSC going forward):

King’s instant of ball-watching is probably minor on most plays. Davis’s is a little more significant, regardless of context. Excellent execution from Louisville – that chemistry between Spencer and Ownby from having been on a team together for three years helps – makes Nashville pay dearly for all of it.

LouGoal2replays.2019-07-09 12_55_27

The geometric depth of the formation front-to-back is poor though: central midfielders have to be in position to shut down a player receiving the ball at the top of the box. Thanks to a miscommunication (or multiple miscommunications, more likely), and a general lack of disciplined play, that doesn’t happen.

This is largely because Souahy and McCabe recognize an opportunity with the quick throw: Nashville tends to take its own time when throwing the ball in, and largely expects opponents to do the same.


Nashville SC official site recap and story. Official site Louisville City FC story. Photo gallery from LCFC, as well. Speedway game story and gonzo journalism. The league’s game report. There’s still a little bit of time to vote for Daniel Ríos’s goal as (deserving) goal of the week. LCFC was considered a winner of the week.


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