NASHVILLE – In the club’s first match at First Tennessee Park in August, Nashville SC dazzled the hometown crowd and earned a 2-0 victory over Ottawa Fury FC on Friday night.
Matt LaGrassa earned his first USL goal of the season and Brandon Allen netted a penalty kick to give Nashville its second-straight home victory. Matt Pickens earned his 10th clean sheet of the season, good for a tie for second place in the USL.
90 in a Nutshell
After the American and Canadian sides traded national anthems to start the match, the two teams traded chances in the opening minutes. Last match’s hero, Tucker Hume, had a solid chance off the bat but sent a kick wide. The teams traded corner kick opportunities after the 20’ minute, but both were cleared away.
In the 31’ minute, Nashville finally struck with a LaGrassa boot off an assist from Lebo Moloto. It was a picture-perfect pass and even better finish into an open corner of the net. Nashville SC kept the pressure on for the remainder of the half and had a few more chances to double the lead, but the half ended with a 1-0 lead for the home side.
Ottawa pressed a bit to start the second half, but Nashville withstood the Fury and started to move back up the field. Hume had another good opportunity from a corner kick but put it over the bar. In the 58’ minute, Hume kept it up and earned Nashville a penalty as he was knocked down in the box on an attempted header. Allen stepped up to take the penalty and buried it with a great strike close to the middle of the net to double Nashville’s lead. In the ensuing run of play, Matt Pickens made a lunging stop on an Ottawa chance from outside the box, leading to a Nashville breakaway. A game of cat and mouse in the box between Hume and Allen ended without a goal, however. Ottawa threatened once or twice more, but the foes from north of the border could not find the back of the net as Pickens earned another clean sheet en route to the win.
31’ NSH – Matt LaGrassa (Assisted by Lebo Moloto)
59’ NSH (PK) – Brandon Allen
Defender Liam Doyle: “For me, I think we’re a top-four team. I think we’ve shown that for large periods, and we’ve had a couple of spells that have set us back a bit. I think now, we’re showing again that we’re solid, the goals are starting to come, we’re starting to create more, and if we can keep that hunger I think we’ve got to set our sights on the top four, get a home game and take it from there.”
Brandon Allen - Three shots on target. With the big body of Hume by his side up front, Allen was able to put pressure on all night and took four shots in total, three of which were on target. The forward with a nose for the net was able to threaten the Ottawa defense. His penalty kick in the second half sealed the deal for Nashville.
The victory catapults Nashville SC to sixth place in the USL Eastern Conference standings, just one point behind New York Red Bulls II and five points behind Louisville City FC for the all-important fourth spot in the standings.
With points picked up in consecutive matches, Nashville travels up I-65 next Saturday to take on Louisville City FC in the rubber match of the USL season series. That match will start at 6:30 PM CT.