BRADENTON, Fla. – For the first time since the gut-wrenching USL Cup playoff defeat in mid-October, Nashville Soccer Club took the field. A preseason friendly against the Montreal Impact of MLS at IMG Academy started Nashville SC’s six-game preseason slate during a picture-perfect Florida afternoon. The Impact emerged victorious 2-0, scoring twice midway through the second half.
90’ in a Nutshell
It was a tale of two halves for Nashville SC. The first half saw Nashville keep possession and look dangerous throughout the half, earning five corners to Montreal’s one. NSC put multiple shots on target, but couldn’t break through against starting Impact keeper Evan Bush. Doyle provided the best Nashville chance of the opening 45 minutes with a header off a Michael Reed corner kick that was just saved by Bush.
The first half nearly ended on a sour note for Nashville SC as an inadvertent handball led to a free kick just outside the Nashville box. Newly signed Impact striker Maxi Urruti struck the kick low, but NSC keeper Matt Pickens made a diving save to preserve a 0-0 halftime scoreline.
A number of changes were made by head coach Gary Smith to Nashville’s second half lineup as nearly the entire XI turned over. Nashville SC struggled to keep possession throughout the second half, and the Impact took advantage, scoring twice in the final 20 minutes to win 2-0.
71’ MTL - Zakaria Diallo
80’ MTL – Harry Novillo
“It was great to get back out there. [IMG Academy] is terrific; the facilities are great. I think it will be a very, very worthwhile run out for the players, and I think there will be a lot of cobwebs that will be blown away there. I thought it was a very good first half. One or two players in the second half that have found the going a little bit tougher, but that is what preseason is all about.”
5 -1 first half corners – While no official stats were kept from the preseason friendly, Nashville’s first half corner kick advantage told the story of the opening frame. Nashville SC was the better team and nearly found the first goal of the match through one of its corners.
Nashville will play one more preseason friendly at IMG Academy on Saturday against two-time defending USL Cup champions Louisville City FC at 2 p.m. CST.