NASHVILLE- In the USL Championship’s first-ever regular season nationally televised game, Nashville SC fell 1-0 to the Tampa Bay Rowdies at First Tennessee Park on Wednesday Night. Despite shooting twice as many times as its opponent, Nashville was unable to recover after finding itself down by one at half.
Nashville SC brought the heat early, outshooting Tampa Bay 4-0 in the first 35 minutes of play. However, it was Tampa Bay to find the first goal of the night, capitalizing on their first and only shot of the half.
Tampa Bay forward Juan Tejada got on the end of a free kick that was redirected by teammate Sebastian Guenzatti from the end line, catching goalkeeper Matt Pickens off guard. Despite promising first-half efforts, Nashville SC was unable to find an equalizer and looked to the second half for an answer.
NSC was off to a slower start in the second half than in the first. The first true opportunity in the second 45 came when Lebo Moloto took a crack on goal just minutes after entering the game in the 63'.
Daniel Ríos took his turn on goal in the 86’, but his contested header went wide of the frame.
While chances created did not seem abundant in the second half, NSC’s possession continued to creep up, eventually totaling 56.8 percent to Tampa Bay’s 43.2 percent by the end of the game. Nashville will now turn its attention to face Swope Park Rangers on Saturday at home.
When falling behind early, Nashville SC has historically struggled, and tonight was no different. The club has never mounted a comeback win after conceding the first goal of the night. Nashville SC fell behind in the 34’ and was never able to put together an attack leading to a goal.
In typical Nashville SC fashion, the squad won the possession battle. The Boys in Gold held 56.8 percent of the possession on Wednesday. The team had more shots and shots on target than the Rowdies but were unable to take advantage of the opportunities.
Tampa Bay Woes
Nashville SC has yet to defeat Tampa Bay in the history of the club. Last season, the sides drew in Tampa and the Rowdies defeated NSC in heartbreaking fashion at First Tennessee Park. Nashville will have the chance to break to curse in August when it takes on the Rowdies in Florida.
Nashville SC has their second home match of the week when the team hosts Swope Park Rangers on Saturday, May 11. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. CT at First Tennessee Park.