The Wrap: Saint Louis FC 1-0 Nashville SC

Welcome to The Wrap, wherein I recap the content from the last Nashville SC game. A disappointing result in the Gateway to the West a week ago is today’s subject matter.

Local content

The game story:

Russell Cicerone found the winner for the hosts in the 77th minute, intercepting a headed pass in Nashville’s end before cutting onto his left foot and striking into the bottom corner from outside the penalty area.

It was a deserved winner for Saint Louis FC, which settled into the game after the halftime break. By harassing Nashville’s backline on the counter-press, STLFC was able to generate some dangerous moments in the offensive end, and the payoff was a long time coming.

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

Alan Winn’s entry in the 82nd minute (replacing centerback Ken Tribbett) showed intent to chase the equalizer, and by the time target forward Tucker Hume entered in the 90th, the shift in philosophy was too-little, too-late.

“The choices that have got to be made at that point, 20 minutes out, 15 minutes out, just before they scored was are we going to change dramatically to what we are or were there just one or two areas to tinker with that might have helped us,” Smith explained. “But just as I was going to make the change, they scored. It made life all the more difficult, but the story of the night was that we certainly weren’t enough of a threat on goal.”

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

  • Man of the match: D Darnell King: 8.00 (tied with Pickens, but it’s my blog, so I cast the tie-breaking vote)
  • GK Matt Pickens: 8.00
  • D Taylor Washington: 7.53
  • D Ken Tribbett: 6.84
  • D Forrest Lasso: 6.35
  • D Bradley Bourgeois: 5.79
  • M Bolu Akinyode: 7.02
  • M Lebo Moloto: 5.87
  • M Matt LaGrassa: 5.49
  • F Ropapa Mensah: 6.18
  • F Cameron Lancaster: 5.00
  • F Alan Winn (82′ sub): 6.30
  • F Kharlton Belmar (78′ sub): 5.99
  • F Tucker Hume (90′ sub): 5.85
  • Head coach Gary Smith: 4.83
  • Overall team rating: 5.15

The Graphical:

Anyway: spoiler alert! Nashville was stuck crossing the ball a lot:

Screen Shot 2019-09-09 at 7.34.48 PM.png
Ignore the yellow Nos. 10, 11, 20, and 21, which are not crosses, but key passes that I had to include to get the key-pass crosses in there.

That’s 17 open-play crosses in the game (four more from set plays). Nashville had one (1) key pass into the box that wasn’t from a cross (the No. 20 in the middle of the image there). There were either two or three open play passes other than LaGrassa’s key pass there that ended up inside the box – there’s an arrow that ends riiiight on the line, but even if we count that one and grant the total as three… that ain’t good.

Nashville’s only route to the penalty area was lumping in crosses. That’s a major credit to Saint Louis’s defensive compactness and sound positional play.

A multi-film room week! The first one dealt with Saint Louis’s low block, and Nashville’s inability to switch the point of attack quickly enough to beat it:

Nashville wanted to widen the backline and find runners.

There were a couple problems with how that effort played out, not least of which was mediocre execution.

Switch1FILM.2019-09-11 15_20_10.gif
Slightly sped up to make the point

Nashville can’t the ball from one side to the other quickly enough to get Darnell King into space before Paris Gee is able to recover wide. That’s the design of the Saint Louis defense, of course

The week’s second film room, likely unsurprisingly, covered Saint Louis’s goal, and how they’d been building toward it for a few minutes by the time it happened.

Nashville didn’t really adjust when Saint Louis had started activating the strikers and the near-side winger in the press. A few minutes earlier, it had led to what was actually a better chance for Saint Louis:

stlrightbeforethegoal.2019-09-12 15_43_46

Nashville was starting to have problems simply getting the ball out of the defensive end – as is the purpose for Saint Louis’s press – and it seemed like good chances were inevitable. That this far superior chance didn’t score and Cicerone’s did is just another indication of how much luck, circumstance, and execution have to line up to create a goal.

And the GIFening:

STLspinmove.2019-09-12 15_48_42

Since Saint Louis won, Masta Kacher gets the reward of his GIF representing the post in The Wrap.

Elsewhere

NSC official site recap and game story. SoBros Network game storySt Louis Post-Dispatch postgame storySpeedway game story.

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