NASHVILLE (April 7, 2018) – A windchill below 30 degrees couldn’t keep the Nashville SC (2-1-1) offense from heating up as the hosts dispatched the first-place team in the USL Eastern Conference, Charlotte Independence (2-1-1), 2-0 in the friendly confines of First Tennessee Park on Saturday night. Goals by youngsters Alan Winn and Ropapa Mensah and another shutout by keeper Matt Pickens started Nashville on its first winning streak.
90 in a nutshell
Using the almost 7,500 home fans to its advantage, Nashville started the first half on the front foot, dominating possession and chances early. In the 24’ minute, Winn struck with a left footed shot, perfectly placed in the far corner to give Nashville its first home lead in 2018.
Charlotte’s No. 1-ranked offense looked poised to knot things up in the second half, but Nashville flexed its defensive muscle and Pickens continued to amaze with an incredible save off a Charlotte free kick.
Forward Ropapa Mensah, a second-half substitute, iced the game late in stoppage time of the second half with his first USL goal. It was his second goal in two games at First Tennessee Park, his first coming in a friendly in February, despite coming off the bench each time.
The shutout is Nashville’s third straight dating back to March 24th. In all, the streak has reached 294 minutes.
Nashville SC head coach Gary Smith – “The focal point for the group really coming in to this game was to be as positive, to be as purposeful and to try and start to create and form some foundations for home advantage. That thought was prevalent in the first 45 minutes. The team was very bright. We pressed the Charlotte group very well. I thought we won the ball in some nice areas and certainly created some opportunities.”
Nashville SC goal scorer Alan Winn – “That’s the challenge we had set forth for the game. We knew they were top of the table and that was one of those things where we wanted to step up and make a statement, not only for the fans at home but especially throughout the league. We knew they were top of the table and that was the challenge Gary set forth and said step up to the table and hit one out of the park.”
With the win, Nashville has moved into fifth place in the East with 7 points through four matches. The team is 2 points out of first place.
Nashville will start its longest road trip of the season next Saturday up in Indianapolis against Indy Eleven. Kick is scheduled for 11 a.m.