NASHVILLE - The scoreboard read 0-0 at the end of 90 minutes, but the action on the field was anything but insignificant.
In front of 18,228 fans at Nissan Stadium, Nashville SC drew first-place FC Cincinnati 0-0, despite firing 20 shots, 13 of which came in the first half. Matt Pickens made a pair of key saves and the Nashville defense limited Cincinnati’s high-powered offense to just 12 shots. Both teams had big chances throughout the match but were unable to convert.
90 in a Nutshell
Nashville SC started the match with some tremendous pressure going forward. The players were able to navigate the Cincinnati midfield with some ease, but couldn’t find Grade-A chances. The match got physical as well, as Nashville forward Brandon Allen was pushed down in the penalty area with no whistle blown.
Just before halftime, Nashville’s Lebo Moloto ran a give-and-go at the top of the box, took a blistering shot and rang it off the far post. Nashville continued to pressure, but could not find the back of the net before the halftime whistle.
The home side kept the pressure up early in the second half. In the 69’ minute, Alan Winn put a header just wide of the net for Nashville’s best chance of the half to that point. As the half rolled on, Cincinnati started to put the pressure on and benefitted from a handful of corner kicks. Pickens continued to dazzle and stifled the Cincinnati front lines, including one key run in the 85’ minute to stop a dangerous-looking Cincinnati run. Late in the half, Allen had another good run towards goal, but the Cincinnati defense recovered in time to snuff it out. FC Cincinnati had the last chances before the referee blew the game dead and ushered in the fireworks display.
Head Coach Gary Smith
“If I look at the body of work that’s been achieved from our last fixture here against Pittsburgh, I’m absolutely delighted. I thought we played some excellent soccer, created some wonderful chances in the first period which was for sure our best opportunity to break the deadlock.”
“And possession, and I thought against one of the top sides if not the top side, and certainly number one in the league at the moment. We showed some wonderful qualities with and without the ball. In the first half we limited them to very little while also looking extremely bright. And understandably in the second period, with the type of individuals and the caliber of players that they have you, expect them to make one or two openings.”
FC Cincinnati – Two shots on target. Cincinnati entered the match as the top scoring team in the USL with 35 goals and one of the league’s top scorers in Emmanuel Ledesma. Thanks to some strong midfield play and stout backline fortifications, Nashville SC only let two shots go on target as Matt Pickens recorded his league-leading ninth clean sheet.
Nashville now has 27 points in the standings thanks to the draw, but move down to fifth place in the USL Eastern Conference thanks to wins by Louisville City FC and Indy Eleven. The club is just two points out of third place and three points clear of ninth place.
The club hits the road in USL play for the first time in over a month when it takes on the Charlotte Independence on Wednesday, July 11. Nashville is back home at First Tennessee Park on Wednesday, July 25 to take on Atlanta United 2.