Another game in the books, and another win for Nashville SC during the 2020 preseason. The Boys in Gold are hot with their second consecutive victory, defeating Montreal Impact 1-0 in St. Petersburg, Florida Wednesday evening.
Dominique Badji found the lone goal of the evening, nodding home a Taylor Washington cross in the second half of the game to break the scoreless deadlock.
“I have to be honest, I was very, very pleased with the way the guys went about their business this evening,” said Nashville SC head coach Gary Smith. “There was a discussion that we all have before the game about trying to find that extra edge and creating a more realistic picture.
“I think the evening’s game and the fact that Montreal are a little bit in front of us with their preseason – with a Champion’s League game not too far away – made the game that much quicker. I thought we stepped up to the challenge.”
Nashville SC continues to build toward a potential starting XI, with the starting lineup unchanged from Sunday’s win over USL side Louisville City FC – but the majority of the starting group playing into the second half, the first time Smith has put the same group back onto the field after a halftime break in preseason.
“For a lot of players, the first time out – the first time that happens, especially when there’s a lot of heavy leg work in training – it can be very difficult to get going again,” Smith said of that preseason taper. “But I thought we started the second period very well.”
It was a pair of substitutes, though, that linked up for the goal. Badji replaced Daniel Ríos at the half (one of just two halftime subs), while Washington entered at left back when the rest of the lineup turned over around the 60th minute. The duo should see plenty of action for the team this year, and linking up on a game-winner can only help that cause.
The team next takes the field Sunday evening back in Bradenton at IMG Academy, taking on a familiar foe: FC Cincinnati shared one USL season with NSC, and the teams have yet to find a winner between them, drawing in preseason 2018, three regular-season matches, and even the playoff game (before Cincinnati advanced on penalty kicks).
While both are still more concerned about preparing for opening weekend – just two weeks away – it will be interesting indeed to see if they can, for the first time in a game (whether official or unofficial) break the deadlock.
Nashville SC starting lineup
- ON Dominique Badji, OFF Daniel Ríos
- ON David Accam, OFF Alan Winn
- ON Adrian Zendejas, OFF Joe Willis
- ON Brayan Beckeles, OFF Eric Miller
- ON Ken Tribbett, OFF Jalil Anibaba
- ON Jack Maher, OFF Dave Romney
- ON Taylor Washington, OFF Dan Lovitz
- ON Matt LaGrassa, OFF Dax McCarty
- ON Tah Brian Anunga, OFF Aníbal Godoy
- ON Luke Haakenson, OFF Derrick Jones
- ON Alistair Johnston, OFF Randall Leal
Dominique Badji photo courtesy Nashville SC