Nashville SC

The Wrap: Swope Park Rangers 0-2 Nashville SC

Welcome to The Wrap, wherein I recap the content from last week’s Nashville SC game. A win just over a week ago – and there have actually been two fixtures since.

Local content

The game story:

It may have been a borderline unfounded fear, but any Nashville SC fan saying 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.

The game column with quotes from the postgame press conference provided by the Club:

he star of the show was midfielder Lebo Moloto, who spent the 2017 season as a member of Swope. He scored the game’s opening goal – on a feed from fellow former Ranger Kharlton Belmar – and added an assist in the second half, feeding striker Daniel Ríos for the goal that put the game out of reach. The duo taking on SPR for the first time since leaving the Sporting Kansas City organization (in which Swope is the USL Championship affiliate) proved crucial to Nashville’s win.

“I’m sure there’s little aspects of coming back to where you’ve been for a good while,” head coach Gary Smith said of Belmar and Moloto. “I think more importantly, you normally get an internal feeling of wanting to impress and wanting to go back to an old club and put on a bit of a display. I know both of them put a tremendous amount of effort into the game. They both combined for the first goal, which was great.”

“Both of us probably looked at this like a homecoming for us,” Belmar added. “We’ve won big things on that field and were very familiar with what Swope was going to try and do. Especially wanted to show well back in Kansas City. I think we both came out and really wanted to get after it. I think it was shown in the opportunities we were creating and the way we were able to combine for the first goal.”

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

  • Man of the match: M Lebo Moloto: 9.00 Community comments:
    • “Stole the show. “
  • GK Matt Pickens: 7.00 Community comments:
    • “6 is probably harsh, but he had nothing to do. “
  • D Forrest Lasso: 8.17
  • D Jimmy Ockford: 8.00
  • D Taylor Washington: 7.67
  • D Kosuke Kimura: 7.33
  • M Bolu Akinyode: 7.50 Community comment:
    • “Looked very comfortable against Espinoza.”
  • M Michael Reed: 7.33
  • M Alan Winn: 7.33
    • “Didn’t show on the scoreboard, but wow”
  • M Kharlton Belmar: 7.00
  • F Daniel Ríos: 7.66
  • D/M Ken Tribbett (87′): 6.17
    • “Having him to lock down games as the 6, with Akinyode, Lasso & Ockford in there too, is scary. Will be a great option going forward against top teams. “
  • F Ropapa Mensah (71′): 5.67
  • F Tucker Hume (83′): 65.67
  • Head coach Gary Smith: 7.50 Community comment:
    • “Wish he’d go for the kill a bit more.”
  • Overall team rating: 7.67 Community comment:
    • “Routine win. Never had to get out of 1st gear. “

The Graphical:

That works in tandem with the No. 1 rule in real estate and “relevance of possession stats to winning a game of association football” (you know, that classic genre, with its many rules): location, location, location. Swope may have had a lot of the ball, but they very much did not have it in the places that matter.

Screen Shot 2019-08-05 at 3.58.31 PM
Swope attacking left to right

Yo, that’s not good! To me, the Swope Park Rangers would have been much better off doing passes in and around the center of the right side of that graphic!

The film room looked at how Nashville SC’s long passing from the centerbacks can beat multiple types of defending.

So, let’s get into what allowed this to happen. First off, Swope is stuck between a pressing posture (in the midfield and backline) and one where they’re sitting back (whatever the front three thinks it’s doing). That means they get the disadvantages of each: Belmar has space to run in behind the backline, and Lasso has all sorts of time to find that pass.


As you can see, Nashville’s centerbacks are completely unpressured, while the front two lines of Swope’s formation are bunched up in the midfield.


NSC official site preview. Swope Park official site recap and quotes.

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