Welcome to The Wrap, wherein I recap the content from last week’s Nashville SC game. The Boys in Gold took home the season sweep in the Tennessee Derby last Wednesday.
Nashville would find the final margin shortly after the halftime break. A Memphis possession in Nashville’s box fizzled out – with multiple 901 FC players appealing for a handball on Ockford – and veteran keeper Matt Pickens quickly distributed for Nashville SC. Alan Winn fed striker Daniel Ríos, and the perfectly-timed run to split Memphis’s centerbacks let the Mexican in alone on goal, where his right foot was able to beat Memphis keeper Scott Levene.
The game column with quotes from the postgame provided by NSC media relations:
Both Ockford’s offensive and defensive contributions turned out to be crucial during his debut for the club.
“I thought I did pretty well, but it was a team effort,” he said. “With all of the guys in front of me, I think we did well as a group. We had good vibes from the start of the day, and we pulled off the win and a clean sheet. It can’t get better than that.”
A far more expected source would add the second goal for Nashville. Striker Daniel Ríos has been among the league’s leading scorers all season, and his 49th-minute finish after a lovely through-ball from winger Alan Winn moved him into the lead for the USL Championship’s Golden Boot, level with Phoenix Rising FC’s Solomon Asante with 12 tallies already this season.
The voting post for your community ratings, and here are the results (don’t forget to vote each game!):
- Man of the match: GK Matt Pickens: 8.56 (tied with Ockford but I get to cast the tie-breaking vote)
- D Jimmy Ockford: 8.56
- D Taylor Washington: 7.81 Community comment:
- “Crosses much improved”
- D Liam Doyle: 7.63
- D Kosuke Kimura: 7.56
- M Alan Winn: 8.25 Community comment:
- “New rule: Winn must eat jalapenos before every game. 🔥🔥🔥”
- M Bolu Akinyode: 7.50
- M Lebo Moloto: 7.25 Community comment:
- “Lebo was better positioned in a more center of the field role, and he shined and team benefited. He should stay central.”
- M Ropapa Mensah: 6.44 Community comment:
- “Often wide open and wasn’t getting passes from teammates. He’s so dangerous when they get him the ball”
- M Vinnie Vermeer: 6.38 Community comment:
- “Had high hopes… didn’t happen.”
- F Daniel Ríos: 8.13 Community comment:
- “For the love of God QUIT flopping and stopping to beg for a call. The game continues while you argue and you’re leaving your team down a man.”
- D Darnell King (83′): 6.50
- M Kharlton Belmar (69′): 6.31
- M Michael Reed (81′): 6.13
- Head coach Gary Smith: 7.69 Community comment:
- “Effective personnel and formation choices.”
- Overall team rating: 7.81
Memphis outshot Nashville on the night overall (16 for 901 FC, just nine for Nashville SC), but it’d be fair to say that the stats are a liiiiittle misleading.
Of Memphis’s 16 shots, six of them were blocked by Nashville SC defenders before they ever had a chance to challenge the goal. Two others (including the best attempt on goal) came from well outside the box.
The remaining attempts that came from inside the box consisted of five low-angle attempts (easier to save, with not much net exposed), only two of which forced a save out of Matt Pickens, and three headed attempts from corner kicks.
The GIFening has a happy man:
Check it out for more of them.
The film room dove into why Nashville needs its central midfield to get back healthy. In short: the Akinyode/Vermeer pairing wasn’t good enough:
Here’s a GIF of a long sequence of Nashville trying to pass around the back unsuccessfully (sped up to 1.5x to emphasize the movement):
Adam Najem played between Nashville’s central midfielders, shading to the one who came back furthest for the ball, while Memphis’s own central midfielders played a bit of a double-pivot, with one firing forward to cover the other of Nashville’s CDMs, while the other would hang back to keep passing lanes to either Lebo Moloto or Daniel Ríos clogged, with the ability to move side-to-side and help on the wingers (who were technically unmarked, but in the “coverage shadow” of the Memphis wide midfielders, with no lane open).
NSC official site recap. Burying your game story with a headline of “8,000 people were there” because you lost is… something. Plenty of local coverage in Memphis (thinking guy emoji goes here). Ropapa plays, therefore coverage in Ghana. The Nashville Post touches on Jimmy Ockford’s performance. Alan Winn was named to the league’s TOTW bench (impressive, given that it’s typically a more stat-oriented type of deal). Speedway gamer.