NASHVILLE – Coming off of one of the biggest wins of the 2019 season, Nashville Soccer Club will take the pitch under the bright lights of Nissan Stadium against North Carolina FC on Saturday night. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m., presented by the GOAL Program presented by Cooper Steel to benefit the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.
A victory for Nashville would clinch at least one home playoff match for the Boys in Gold and would put the club in prime position to claim one of the top two spots in the Eastern Conference.
How to Follow
Local Television: MyTV30 with John Freeman and Kelly Glendenning
Digital Stream: ESPN+
English Radio: ESPN 94.9 Game 2 with Max Herz
Spanish Radio: El Jefe 96.7 with Alexis Martinez and Manfred Villalobos
Social Media: @NashvilleSC on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook
Last Time Out
Nashville SC earned a dramatic 2-1 victory over Louisville City FC on Tuesday night at First Tennessee Park. Taylor Washington opened the scoring in the first 10 minutes of the match with a perfectly-placed shot into the upper corner. Louisville pressed hard from there, eventually earning an equalizer in the 79’ minute. But the Boys in Gold didn’t give up, and Jimmy Ockford proved to be the hero in stoppage time as he headed home a long Forrest Lasso free kick. With the win on the line as stoppage time waned, goalkeeper Matt Pickens made a crucial save from a set piece right before the final whistle sounded. The win vaulted Nashville into second place in the Eastern Conference
Scouting North Carolina FC
North Carolina FC currently sits in seventh in the Eastern Conference with 53 points, eight behind Nashville in second place. NCFC was one of the primary contenders for a top four spot throughout the season, but has fallen in the standings over the last month or so. In its last five matches, North Carolina has won two, lost two and drawn one. Statistically, NCFC is one of the best clubs in the league in both goals scored and goals conceded, sitting in the top 10 in both categories. The scoring has been well-distributed throughout the roster, but the leader at the moment is Steven Miller with nine goals.
Storylines to Watch
Nashville SC has the opportunity to clinch at least one home playoff match with a victory on Saturday night. With a loss or draw, Nashville would still clinch a home playoff match with a loss or draw by the Tampa Bay Rowdies against Indy Eleven. A win, coupled with dropped points by Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, would set Nashville up to potentially claim first place in the Eastern Conference with a win during the final weekend of the season.
Friendly Confines of Nissan Stadium
Nashville SC remains unbeaten at Nissan Stadium through three matches played there in club history, and the club’s future temporary MLS home has been particularly kind to the Boys in Gold this season. On July 27, Nashville took down Indy Eleven 2-0 at Nissan Stadium in front of a season-high 13,000+ fans. Daniel Ríos opened the scoring with a great give-and-go with Michael Reed, and Alan Winn doubled the advantage before halftime with a phenomenal individual effort. The win helped catapult the club to a run towards the top four in the standings and a potential top-of-the-standings finish.
International Break Plucks NCFC Stars
North Carolina FC could be missing four key players for this match as they are away on international duty. Nazmi Albadawi, Yamikani Chester, Dre Fortune and Manny Perez are expected to miss Saturday’s match after being called up to their respective national teams. Fortune and Albadawi would be particularly tough losses, as the two have started in more than half of the club’s matches this season. Chester, Albadawi and Fortune have also combined for 15 goals.
Be sure to check out the Opening Act outside Nissan Stadium prior to the match, featuring live music from The Weeks, three-on-three soccer, a FIFA video game truck and much more.