The Wrap(s): Nashville SC beats Hartford, draws Bethlehem

Welcome to The Wrap, wherein I recap the content from recent Nashville SC game(s). The Boys in Gold handled business midweek and then faltered slightly over the weekend ten days ago.

Nashville SC 4-0 Hartford Athletic

The game story:

Mads Jørgensen definitely didn’t mean to break Michael Reed’s leg*. He just as certainly didn’t have intent to do serious harm to him. There’s a reasonable chance he didn’t even mean to foul Reed (honestly couldn’t tell you – one replay was enough to know I didn’t want to watch a second replay, to say the least).

But Mads Jørgensen is still responsible for his actions on the pitch. It’s a sporting version of the social contract we all live under: regardless of intent, if your recklessness causes serious bodily injury to an opponent (or I guess, less likely, a teammate), you deserve the punishment.

Reed did undergo successful surgery to reduce his fracture with pins.

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

  • Man of the match: M Michael Reed: 10.00 Community comments:
    • “Praying for a speedy and complete recovery!”
    • “♥️”
  • GK Matt Pickens: 8.00 Community comments:
    • “Biggest accomplishment of the game was staying awake since there were so few shots on goal”
    • “Solid when he had to be, wasn’t challenged much”
  • D Jimmy Ockford: 8.67
  • D Forrest Lasso: 8.33
  • D Taylor Washington: 8.30
  • D Kosuke Kimura: 7.33 Community comment:

    • “Was fine overall, came off early. Not much of a performance to rate tbh”
  • M Alan Winn: 8.40 Community comment:
    • “Alan’s on fire.”
  • M Lebo Moloto: 8.10
  • M Bolu Akinyode: 8.00 Community comment:
    • “Looked very comfortable against Espinoza.”
  • M Kharlton Belmar: 7.33
  • F Daniel Ríos: 9.00
  • D/M Ken Tribbett (9′): 8.68 Community comment:
    • “Solid defensively, scoring a goal is always a plus too”
  • F Ropapa Mensah (HT): 8.33 Community comments:
    • Subbing in Ropapa at the half brought a spark to a game that had been pretty dull up until that point. The others seemed to feed off of his energy. Loved seeing him come in earlier than usual.
    • Helped drive the match forward, good sub by Gary
  • D Justin Davis (68′): 7.00 Community comment:
    • Davis did fine, seemed tense coming off the pitch. Maybe hurt?
  • Head coach Gary Smith: 8.00 Community comment:
    • “The team played flat in the first half, somewhat in part to a pretty defensive sub for Michael Reed, but he brought Ropapa on at half and clearly had the team drive forward. Well done”
  • Overall team rating: 8.30 Community comment:
    • “Perhaps rattled by the gruesome injury early in the game they appeared to play to the level of their competition (who only had 10 men) in the first half but made up for it in the second half.”

The Graphical:

Take a look at the first-half (after Tribbett’s entry) and second-half pass maps (Nashville attacking left-to-right):

Nashville was more dominant in the first half – and even more dominant in the middle of the pitch – in terms of possession than they were after the break: 69.7% in the first had, 63.2% in the second. But where they built up that possession was entirely different.

They were more content to sit deep in their own end and pick-and-choose their spots to get forward. It was, in fairness, a “don’t lose” rather than “let’s go out and grab this thing” gameplan by the time the second goal was scored – and it says something about the individual talents of the players (and a bit of luck that has usually seemed to go against, rather than for Nashville more often than not this season) that it ended up being a 4-nil game.

Fear not, The GIFening doesn’t include anything of you-know-what.

Elsewhere… Hartford Courant gamer. The league’s gameday report. NSC official site recapSpeedway gamer.

Nashville SC 0-0 Bethlehem Steel

The game story:

NASHVILLE – Earning 13 out of 15 possible points in its past five games is nothing for Nashville SC to turn up its nose at, but Saturday’s end of a four-game winning streak – a 0-0 draw against Bethlehem Steel – is a disappointment nonetheless in a game where the Boys in Gold could have made it five in a row.

Bethlehem came out in a highly defensive 5-3-2 formation (evidently more than happy to come away with the draw on the road), and the Boys in Gold couldn’t find that moment of magic to break it down.

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: 8.50
  • D Jimmy Ockford: 8.00
  • D Forrest Lasso: 7.83
  • D Taylor Washington: 7.33
  • D Darnell King: 6.80
  • M Lebo Moloto: 7.40
  • M Bolu Akinyode: 7.18
  • M Ken Tribbett: 7.16
  • M Ropapa Mensah: 6.50
  • M Kharlton Belmar: 5.33
  • F Daniel Ríos: 6.70
  • M Alan Winn (HT): 8.00
  • M Matt LaGrassa (89′): 6.20
  • F Tucker Hume (89′): 6.00
  • Head coach Gary Smith: 6.67 Community comment:
    • “Not much to work with.”
  • Overall team rating: 6.85 Community comment:
    • “Missing creativity in midfield. Defense continues strong.”

The Graphical:

Brendan Burke knew that he could play for a draw and hopefully escape with a point, or play to win and probably earn zero points. He did the one that was in the best interests of his side.

A few different graphs bear out the conservatism. For example, take a look at the players’ respective average positions:

Screen Shot 2019-08-19 at 5.07.07 PM.png
Bethlehem in Black, attacking right-to-left

All of TWO(!) Steel players were in aggressive enough spots that their average position was across the midway line. Meanwhile five of Nashville’s starters averaged being in Bethlehem territory, with Bolu Akinyode (30) possibly across the line, while Taylor Washington (23) and Ken Tribbett (6) were close enough that their circles at least touch it on the graphic.

The Film Room looked at how Nashville SC tried to beat Bethlehem’s bunker – and how the approach got more effective when Alan Winn entered.

Elsewhere… Philly Soccer Page gamer. Nashville Post game story. NSC official site recapSpeedway gamer and player ratings. Since no GIFening for this one, the bicycle goal line clearance.

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