NASHVILLE – Wednesday morning’s training session marked four days since Nashville SC’s heartbreaking road loss to Saint Louis FC. With the team’s next match not coming until Week 29, the Boys in Gold have some time to regroup and make corrections before hosting Birmingham Legion FC on Tuesday, Sept. 17. Wednesday’s practice was a scorcher, with temperatures peaking in the mid-90’s in the late morning, but heat didn’t steal the players’ energy. They were ready to put in the effort and attention required to bounce back from the weekend’s loss and continue to pursue a prime playoff position.
In speaking with defenders Forrest Lasso and Ken Tribbett after training, the team’s mentality and response after Saturday’s loss was clear and simple – keep moving forward.
“It’s not the result obviously that we want on the weekend, especially coming out of a big result in Tampa, but that’s kind of part of the business,” said Lasso. “After the game on Saturday, you kind of have to snap back into reality on Sunday and Monday and know that the next fixture is the most important. For us with a little bit of a break, our focus was to look at the mistakes, look at our wrong doings from the weekend and do what we can in training to correct them. Mostly just focusing on the next game which is Tuesday.”
Conditioning, technical work and small-sided scrimmages were all on today’s training itinerary. With 12 shots on goal and just two on target last Saturday, Nashville SC knows that work has to be done in order to capitalize on any offensive opportunity when it’s presented. At the same time, the team recognizes its need for defensive improvement, and Tribbett is ready to make those changes happen in the team’s important push for the playoffs.
“It’s disappointing of course,” Tribbett said. “I’ll be the first one to put my hand up and say it wasn’t good enough from me and from a lot of the guys on the team. It happened, now we just have to move on and focus on the rest of the year. Six games left, and we’ll make a push for the top spot.”
Out of Nashville’s remaining six matches, five will be played at home, giving the team significant advantage as it rounds out its 2019 campaign. So far, NSC’s schedule has been away-match heavy, resulting in an impressive road record of 9W-4L-3D. Nashville will now have the opportunity for its home record of 6W-3L-3D to catch up. With 15 home points up for grabs in the final stretch of the season, Nashville is in a preferred position; however, Lasso said it could become dangerous to look too far ahead.
“We know that if we can come away with 12 or 15, whatever it may be, a handful of points, we can give ourselves a chance to earn some silverware come to the end,” Lasso continued. “But mostly, it’s just one day at a time. If we start thinking too far ahead or too far in advance in regard to playoffs, then we may slip up on a few games. Just one game at a time.”
Tuesday’s match at First Tennessee Park will be Nashville’s first at home since August 24 when the team defeated the Charleston Battery with a last-minute stunner from Bolu Akinyode in the 90+4’ minute. After training, both Lasso and Tribbett expressed their excitement to play five matches at home. The match against Loudon United FC on Saturday, Sept. 28 will be the final road test of the 2019 season, and Tribbett says that playing in front of a strong home crowd could lift the team’s on-field performance.
“Home games are very important,” Tribbett explained. “We don’t have to go anywhere on the road, so we can sleep in our beds, and we have our crowd behind us. We’re in a good spot. We love our fans. They’re always loud. They always show up. We expect that from them just like they expect us to go out and play well. We hope to see as many people as we can out there to give us a push.”
Be in the stands when Nashville SC hosts Birmingham Legion FC on Tuesday, Sept. 17 at First Tennessee Park with tickets starting as low as $11. Tickets are available here. With five home matches remaining, fans have plenty of opportunities to catch the Boys in Action in 2019. Click here for the team's remaining schedule.