SPARROW, VERMEER MAKE DEBUTS IN DRAW
MONTCLAIR, N.J. – It's becoming a tradition for Nashville SC and New York Red Bulls II to play to a 1-1 draw. For the third consecutive matchup between the sides, Nashville and New York drew 1-1 on Saturday afternoon in New Jersey in Nashville’s first road game of the season. A first half goal from MLS signee forward Daniel Ríos opened the scoring for Nashville, but Red Bulls II created numerous chances, finally equalizing early in the second half. The draw moves Nashville’s record to 1-1-1 on the young season.
90’ in a Nutshell
Nashville has been using a high press on defense to generate chances and force opponents into mistakes. In the 22’ minute against Red Bulls II, the press paid off as Ríos pounced on an errant backpass by the New York defense. The Mexican forward then dribbled around the keeper and slotted the ball into the empty net to give Nashville the lead. It was Ríos’ second goal of the season, which leads Nashville.
After conceding, New York went on the attack and Nashville held defensively through the rest of the opening half to go into the locker room with the 1-0 lead.
The first chance of the second half went to Nashville, and it almost doubled its lead as midfielder Matt LaGrassa took a cross from Ríos, but his shot went off the post. Just five minutes later, New York equalized as Brian White headed in a cross after Nashville failed to clear a ball in the box.
New York had multiple chances late in the game to find a winner, but Nashville keeper Connor Sparrow kept Red Bulls II from finding the net again and earned the point for the draw.
22’ NSH – Daniel Ríos
55’ NY – Brian White (Marcus Epps)
Nashville attempted just 276 passes, less than half of its USL Championship-leading 555 passes a game it averaged through its first two games of the season. On the turf, against a side that put a lot pressured for a full 90 minutes, Nashville SC played a more direct game rather than linking up like it had done through much of the first two games of the season.
Head coach Gary Smith
"Look, unless we would have won the game, I would have been disappointed, which I am now. To concede from the second phase again is even more disappointing, but let’s talk about the positives. There were a lot of good things going on. I feel as though we’re moving in a nice direction. The guys like Cameron and Daniel are seeing a bit more time, we’re starting to find a little bit more of a rhythm, and we’ve got a tough schedule coming up, but I think we’re in a good place.”
Debuts in Gold
Two Nashville SC players made their club debuts in the draw. Keeper Connor Sparrow replaced Matt Pickens in the starting lineup and made two saves in his debut. Midfielder Vinnie Vermeer, who earned a roster spot after a successful trial with Nashville SC in the preseason, made his first start, but was substituted in the first half following an injury.
Nashville SC will have a bye week next weekend and won’t be back in action until April 6 when it travels to Canada to take on Ottawa Fury FC. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.