TAMPA – Matt Pickens stellar season continues to be recognized across the United Soccer League (USL). Just a couple of weeks removed from picking up a Team of the Week honor, the Nashville SC keeper was announced on Thursday afternoon as one of five USL players up for Player of the Month for August.
The Player of the Month will be determined via a fan vote on the USL’s website throughout the weekend. To vote for Matt Pickens, follow this link.
Pickens started all five games in August, compiling a 2-1-2 record, and was lights out against some of the best teams in the USL. The 36-year-old netminder started the month with a huge result on the road at top-of-the-table FC Cincinnati. After allowing a goal in the opening minute of the match, Pickens held the potent Cincinnati offense without a goal the rest of the game, allowing Nashville SC to come back and earn a point in the 1-1 draw.
Two shutouts followed, a 2-0 home win against Ottawa Fury FC and a 0-0 road draw at Louisville City FC, giving Nashville a critical four points in the standings. The only loss Nashville took in the month came on Aug. 25 at home when Nashville, down a man, gave up a last-minute goal to Bethlehem Steel FC to lose 2-1. Just three days later Pickens earned his third clean sheet of the month with a 4-0 rout of Richmond.
In total, Pickens recorded three clean sheets in August, allowing only three goals across the five games. His save pct. for the month was .864, about 50 points higher than his league-best season save pct. of .807.
Pickens has been one of Nashville SC’s best players in its inaugural season. Despite missing three USL games (two to injury, one to the birth of his third child last weekend), Pickens is tied for the USL lead with 12 clean sheets as the combo of him and a stellar Nashville defense have held opponents to just 19 goals, the second-fewest in the league.