March 17, 2018 — Slugger Field (Louisville, Ky.)
LOU — Luke Spencer (Niall McCabe) 56′
LOU — Niall McCabe (Oscar Jimenez, Luke Spencer) 66′
NSC — Yellow Card — Matt LaGrassa
LOU — Yellow Card — Luke Spencer
|Matt Pickens||Gregory Ranjitsingh|
|Justin Davis||Sean Totsch|
|London Woodberry||Paco Craig|
|Kosuke Kimura||Pat McMahon|
|Ryan James (Taylor Washington 85′)||Kyle Smith|
|Liam Doyle||Oscar Jimenez|
|Matt LaGrassa||Paolo DelPiccolo|
|Michael Reed||Shaun Francis|
|Lebo Moloto||Niall McCabe (Magnus Rasmussen 87′)|
|Robin Shroot (Tucker Hume 59′)||Luke Spencer|
|Michael Cox (Ropapa Mensah 73′)||George Davis IV (Richard Ballard 76′)|
Nashville SC falls to defending USL champs in inaugural game
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The task was always going to be tough for Nashville SC. On the road. Against the defending champs. With a brand-new team. Ultimately, the hill was too steep to climb as Nashville SC fell in its USL opener against Louisville City 2-0.
Through the first 45 minutes, it looked like Nashville SC might be able to scrap together a result. Nashville keeper Matt Pickens came up with two saves in the first half, one of them from a point-blank header, to keep the match knotted at 0-0.
“As expected the opening 10 minutes were fast and furious,” said Nashville SC head coach Gary Smith. “I’m sure Louisville wanted to take advantage of us being a brand-new team and got on the front foot. But once we navigated the first 10 minutes, we controlled some nice areas of the game. I thought we edged possession and passes completed in the first half, if I have seen the stats right. So, going in at the break, I wasn’t at all concerned about them getting themselves in front or being the aggressor.”
After raising a flag at halftime commemorating the 2017 USL Cup championship, Louisville came out of the locker room determined to take advantage of its home field. In the 56th minute, it did just that. A cross from Niall McCabe found the head of Luke Spencer, who nicked it off the inside post past Pickens for the opener. Ten minutes later, LCFC struck again. This time it was McCabe, who one-touched a cross from Oscar Jimenez into the net.
“I feel like they played with us, but with more aggression,” said midfielder Lebo Moloto. “In the second half, they realized we were tough, so they just kept pumping the balls in, and I feel like there are going to be teams that do that. We have to be better.”
Nashville SC will now turn its attention to its home opener next Saturday against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds in Nissan Stadium. There have already been 15,000 tickets sold to the match, with many more expected within the next week.
“Today will be a massive learning curve for us,” said Smith. “We will for sure look forward to getting back home next week, in front of a good crowd, on a good field, in an environment we will feel comfortable to win. It certainly won’t stop me thinking as I leave here today that we have fallen short on what we should have achieved.”