NASHVILLE – A strong half for Nashville SC sees the hosts in front of ninth-seeded Charleston Battery in the first round of the 2019 USL Championship playoffs. The Boys in Gold got goals from Lebo Moloto and Daniel Ríos, while Charleston converted a penalty via the right foot of midfielder Angelo Kelly-Rosales to get the visitors on board, as well.
Nashville started strong, with Moloto’s goal coming in the tenth minute thanks to a through-ball from Matt LaGrassa finding him alone in the penalty area, with a solid finish from the 29-year old to beat Charleston keeper Joe Kuzminsky.
The Battery would draw level in the 35th, after NSC centerback Forrest Lasso fouled winger Nico Rittmeyer near the top of the penalty area. Attacker Zeiko Lewis would ultimately send Nashville keeper Matt Pickens the wrong way, and finish the penalty kick to the bottom-left corner.
The level game state wouldn’t last long, though, with Nashville’s Golden Boot runner-up, Daniel Ríos, finding his 21st goal in USL play for the 2019 season. The MLS-bound Mexican headed home a cross from left back Justin Davis, restoring a halftime lead for the Boys in Gold.
There’s certainly plenty left to play for in this one, with Nashville earning just a slight advantage in possession (55.2-44.8%). While it may have looked like a single goal would be enough to take the victory, Charleston has shown that the advantage may have to be more than one for NSC to feel comfortable about advancing to the quarterfinals of the playoffs in pursuit of a championship on the way out of USL.
Nashville will attempt to build upon its lead after the break, with Charleston itching to once again draw level in the contest.
- 10′ NSH GOAL – 10 Lebo Moloto (right foot), assisted by 20 Matt LaGrassa (through-ball)
- 35′ CHS GOAL – 11 Zeiko Lewis (right-footed penalty kick, earned by 13 Nico Rittmeyer)
- 38′ NSH Yellow card – 21 Darnell King (foul)
- 43′ NSH GOAL – 14 Daniel Ríos (headed), assisted by 2 Justin Davis (left-footed cross)
- 45’+1 Half time.