It may have been a borderline unfounded fear, but any Nashville SC fan sayin that they were totally confident in the Boys in Gold taking down cellar-dweller Swope Park Rangers on the heels of back-to-back wins over Memphis 901 FC and Indy Eleven was hiding a little insecurity about the game. Nashville did the expected, though, with goals from Lebo Moloto and Daniel Ríos bookending the halftime break and driving NSC to a 2-0 win.
Two Swope Park alumni teamed up for the first goal for their opposition this evening, with Moloto – the team’s leader in chance creation during the 2017 season – taking service from Kharlton Belmar – the leading Ranger in assists and second in goals during 2018 – to put Nashville SC on top in the 43rd minute.
Golden boot contender Daniel Ríos would double the lead shortly after the halftime break, taking a pass from Moloto in the 47th minute, trapping with his left, and hammering it home past keeper Adrian Zendejas to provide the game’s final margin.
NSC easily saw out the result, making substitutions to keep legs fresh (Alan Winn, Ríos, and Moloto were the players taken off in the second half). For a team that had its share of frustrating offensive moments last season – and earlier this year – any multi-goal victory is not to be taken for granted. But there’s something to be said for the relaxing feel of knowing a result is inevitable, and seeing it unfold in reasonably predictable fashion.
The Boys in Gold don’t get much of a break, hosting Hartford Athletic at First Tennessee Park Wednesday evening. Having risen to the No. 4 team in the Eastern Conference table, one would expect No. 17 Hartford to provide little more resistance than did Swope this evening.
- 33′ SPR Substitution – On 39 Jerome Ngom Bbekeli, off 33 Mark Segbers (injury)
- 43′ NSH GOAL – 10 Lebo Moloto (right foot, outside the box), assisted by 11 Kharlton Belmar
- 45’+1 Half time
- 47′ NSH GOAL – 14 Daniel Ríos (left foot), assisted by 10 Lebo Moloto
- 60′ SPR Substitution – On 26 Jaylin Lindsey, off 49 William Little
- 66′ SPR Yellow card – 92 Alexsander Andrade (foul)
- 71′ NSH Substitution – On 3 Ropapa Mensah, off 19 Alan Winn
- 76′ SPR Substitution – On 98 Ayyoub Allach, off 24 Gedion Zelalem
- 81′ SPR Yellow card – 98 Ayyoub Allach (foul)
- 83′ NSH Substitution – On 12 Tucker Hume, off 14 Daniel Ríos
- 87′ NSH Substitution – On 6 Ken Tribbett, off 10 Lebo Moloto
- 90’+3 Full time