NASHVILLE – For the third time out of least four this season, Nashville SC and Louisville City will meet. This meeting, however, will have the most on the line out of the four, as the teams will clash in the 5th round of the U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday night at 6 p.m. CST, the Sweet 16 if you will. The winner advances to the final 8, the loser, out of the tournament.
LouCity is the defending USL champs, and this season have backed that banner up with another strong start. Like Nashville SC, the club has lost just twice this season, both on the road. While Louisville’s home-field advantage is legendary, Wednesday night’s game will be played at Lynn Stadium on the campus of the University of Louisville, not the team’s typical home at Slugger Field. Louisville City did beat New England Revolution of MLS at Lynn two weeks ago.
Injuries have been a big concern for Louisville’s attacking group lately. The team announced last week that forward Luke Spencer underwent knee surgery and would be out the next month or so. Also in Louisville’s 0-0 draw against Bethlehem Steel FC on June 9, star forward Cameron Lancaster came out injured and hasn’t played since. Louisville is deep at forward with noted goal scorers Brian Ownby and Ilija Ilic, but the loss of Spencer and potentially Lancaster, could be a factor in lineup decisions for head coach James O’Conner.
It will be another quick turnaround for Nashville SC as the team will play its 10th game in 39 days, dating back to its win over Louisville City on May 13. The stretch has tested the depth of Nashville, and that depth has delivered as SC has won seven of the nine it has played, while drawing the other two. The team’s North American-best 11-game unbeaten streak in all competitions dates back to its last loss on April 14, a more than two month stretch without a loss of any kind.
While it took Nashville SC a little bit to find its offensive rhythm, the team has now scored in 10 straight games and, has spread out its goals, as nine different Nashville SC players have scored this year, while another five have contributed with an assist. The 14 players on the score sheet provide another highlight to Nashville’s depth. Mensah leads all scorers with five total goals, but Lebo Moloto has four and Allen has three (five total if you include his two goals he scored with Bethlehem). Nashville will need those names to step up if it wants to advance in the Open Cup.
Nashville SC head coach Gary Smith - “We’ve done incredibly well to get to this point. It certainly won’t be any easier, if not a little bit more difficult than the Colorado game. I think the fact that we know each other that well will make it tough for both teams. The guys on the side and the team that start will be more than appreciative and understanding of what a one-off game’s about. I think we’ll certainly have enough quality out there on the night.”
How to Watch
Tune in right here on NashvilleSC.com to watch a stream of the match, or follow us on social media @NashvilleSC for in game updates and highlights.
If Nashville Advances
A win would put Nashville into the final eight teams in the U.S. Open Cup., and set up a matchup with the winners of the Atlanta United and Chicago Fire game, both of MLS. Nashville would travel again for that game, tentatively scheduled for July 18.
Nashville will head back home for three more USL games starting next Tuesday night at First Tennessee Park versus Indy Eleven in the club’s first nationally televised game. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.