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Nashville SC falls to defending USL champs in inaugural game

By Nashville SC, 03/17/18, 6:30PM EDT

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Two second half goals lift Louisville to 2-0 win

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (March 17, 2018) – 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 ten 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 ten 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 be 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 56’ 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. “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 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 good crowd, on a good field, in an environment that 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.”