NASHVILLE – Despite being more than halfway through the season, there are still teams that Nashville SC has yet to play. One those is winless and last place Toronto FC II, owners of just three USL points, via draws, through 18 games. On Saturday evening at 7:00 p.m. CST at a neutral site in Rochester, N.Y., Nashville will have a shot to string together a win streak against Toronto FC II after its 1-0 win against Atlanta United 2.
Toronto’s struggles are no secret. The team is young and gives up a lot of goals, 46 to be exact, the most in the USL this season. TFCII has rotated through five keepers this season, but will likely use either Borja Angoitia or Caleb Patterson-Sewell against Nashville. Angoitia has allowed 13 goals in 21 shots faced, while Patterson-Sewell has fared a bit better, stopping 10 of 18 shots that have come his way. Interestingly enough, Patterson-Sewell is a Nashville-area native, born in nearby Hendersonville, Tenn.
While Toronto has had its challenges this season, the team has produced maybe the most surprising result in the entire league this year, a 3-3 come-from-behind draw to FC Cincinnati. In that game, Toronto used two late goals, after going down 3-1 to the top team in the league, to earn a point and take two points away from Cincinnati. Nashville will have to be careful to not suffer the same fate in a game it is clearly the favorite.
A tough 1-0 win over an MLS-loaded Atlanta United 2 team could be the result Nashville SC needs to get back on track. After a stellar May and June, Nashville has hit a rough patch in July, going 1-2-1. A six-point week against two teams at the bottom of the Eastern Standings might just be the medicine that cures Nashville’s ills and pushes the team toward a top-4 spot in the playoffs.
Injuries will again be a storyline for Nashville, as they were on Wednesday. In Wednesday’s game, SC was without starters Matt Pickens, Bradley Bourgeois and Michael Reed due to injury and London Woodberry due to suspension. Woodberry will be eligible again on Saturday, but Nashville might again have to dig into its strong depth to accommodate for more missed games due to injury.
Midfielder Bolu Akinyode
“Short turnarounds are something we have experienced already this season with Open Cup games and everything. It’s the same focus and mentality every game, and that mentality is to get three points by any means.”
WATCHING THE EAST
The win over Atlanta briefly shot Nashville up to 6th place in the East, but Indy Eleven countered with a win of its own on Thursday to push Nashville back down to 7th. The race is tightening, however, with Nashville just five points out of second place with a game in hand to Charleston. A win on Saturday could put Nashville as high as 4th in the East.
HOW TO WATCH
While the game was originally not scheduled to be broadcast, the USL has picked up the broadcast, and it will now be available to watch on ESPN+ at 7:00 p.m. CST on Saturday night. Dave Lamont and Sam Stockley are on the call. Of course, fans can follow on social media @Nashville SC for the latest news and highlights.