Image via NashvilleSC.com
Following Nashville SC’s dominant 4-0 route over Hartford Athletic, the squad remained home to go against the 13th ranked Bethlehem Steel.
Although Nashville extended their win streak to 4 in a row coming into the match, the team will now have to play the remainder of the season without captain Michael Reed on the pitch. If you’re unaware, Reed suffered an absolutely devastating leg injury in the 4′ minute of Wednesday’s match against Hartford Athletic.
Who’s the Captain?
Michael Reed handed MLS signee Forrest Lasso the captain band as he was being carted off, which speaks volumes on Lasso’s leadership abilities. Lasso joined the squad on July 25th on loan from FC Cincinnati, so he is still relatively new to the squad. Lasso did happen to sport the captain band for Saturday’s match.
Manager Gary Smith instituted Ropapa Mensah into the starting lineup, replacing Alan Winn. Given the number of minutes Winn has played recently, this will help manage the load for him going forward.
Aggressive from the Start
Nashville’s gameplan early was simple. Get the ball down the sideline and swing it in for a possible volley or header. The squad constructed 3 of these in the first 6 minutes in which all nearly resulted in the net.
Goalie Matt Pickens came in CLUTCH for the Nashville squad, making an absolutely spectacular save in the ’23rd minute.
The compactness of Bethlehem made it difficult for NSC to break through from the beginning, but Nashville still seemed to dominate the game for the first ’45, controlling 67% of the possession.
The Nashville defensive unit was clicking on all cylinders in the first half. allowing only 2 shots, the D-line was doing what they do best. DEFENDING.
Gary Smith brought Kharlton Belmar off the pitch at the beginning of the 2nd Half, replacing him with Alan Winn. The explosiveness and knowledge of the game Winn brought to the table made an immediate difference to the NSC match.
New Half, Same Start
Again, the compactness of the Bethlehem D-line seemed troublesome for the NSC attackers. Although dominating the possession game, we just couldn’t seem to find the net in the first 15 of the new half.
As the half went on, Nashville’s dominance truly showed. Chance after chance, it was just a matter of time before the ball found the net.
Which sadly, it never did. the match ended with a score of 0-0, leaving Nashville fans just slightly more than disappointed. Nevertheless, the team and fans shouldn’t be too upset with 1 more point in the USL ranks.
NSC will travel to Charlotte next Saturday to go against the Charlotte Independence.