NASHVILLE – A crucial Matt Pickens save minutes before halftime kept things scoreless at First Tennessee Park, and Nashville SC or Birmingham Legion will have to find a second-half tally if there’s to be a winner in this one. After serving a corner kick that went all the way through the box, fullback Kyle Culbertson found himself alone on the back post for a headed attempt, but Pickens covered his post well to keep things level.
Ken Tribbett, playing in central midfield out of necessity – Matt LaGrassa was pushed into the offensive personnel due to a concussion for first-choice attacking midfielder Lebo Moloto – got off to an ignominious start, picking up a second-minute yellow card for a sliding tackle on Kyle Culbertson.
Some of Nashville’s best chances came from set plays. A Ken Tribbett header was wide after a free kick from Justin Davis in the 24th minute, while there was nobody home on the back post to knock in a loose ball after a corner kick in the 32nd. Tribbett’s attempted overhead kick attempt on a 37th-minute free kick brought the pizzazz, but ultimately didn’t have much chance of finding net.
Matt LaGrassa’s attempt just a minute later could have been the most dangerous of the game. His first-time shot from the top of the six-yard box draw a save from Birmingham keeper Matt Van Oekel. While the save was ultimately a routine one, there are plenty of situations in which that one sneaks past the keeper to find net. A legitimate chance from open play was something of a rarity for Nashville, even in a half that saw wingers Alan Winn and Kharlton Belmar (and on Belmar’s right side, fullback Darnell King) find some space on the flanks.
Heavy pressure from Nashville hasn’t paid off in a goal yet – though the same could fairly be said of Birmingham’s efforts on the other end. Will the second half find a winner?
- 2′ NSH Yellow card – 6 Ken Tribbett (foul)
- 36′ BHM Yellow card – 11 JJ Williams (foul)
- 45’+2 NSH Yellow card – 21 Darnell King (foul)
- 45’+4 Half time