RÍOS, MOLOTO ALSO FIRE HOME GOALS IN WILD VICTORY
HARTFORD – A screaming, bar-down goal from forward Cameron Lancaster in the 85’ minute gave Nashville Soccer Club a 3-2 come-from-behind victory over Hartford Athletic on Sunday afternoon, extending Nashville’s USL Championship unbeaten streak to six matches. A wild, back-and-forth contest that saw the sides trade leads ended with Lancaster’s fourth goal of the season as the match-winner.
Fellow MLS signing Daniel Ríos opened the scoring for Nashville in the first half in the 31’ minute, giving Nashville a lead it would relinquish one minute later when Hartford tied the game. That 1-1 scoreline held until the break, but Nashville had the upper hand with 16 first half shots.
It looked like Nashville would fall behind early in the second half after the head official ruled a handball on defender Justin Davis inside the box. Upon replay, the call was questionable, but keeper Matt Pickens came up with a huge save on the PK to keep the match level at 1-1. Seconds later, Hartford found their goal when captain Sam de Wit’s header got by Pickens to give the Athletic their first lead of the match.
Like Nashville’s lead, it didn’t last long as midfielder Lebo Moloto found an equalizing goal in the 62’ minute. Moloto pounced on a rebound and snaked his shot past multiple Hartford defenders to tie the match at 2-2.
In the dying minutes of the match, reigning USL Golden Boot winner Cameron Lancaster, subbed on in the 68’ minute, fired a 25-yard rocket that hit the underside of the crossbar and went in past the frozen Hartford keeper. It was Lancaster’s fourth goal of the season, and the biggest yet, giving Nashville all three points.
Here are three takeaways from the victory.
1) Streaks Intact
The win kept Nashville SC’s two streaks alive, a six-match league unbeaten streak, and a six-match road unbeaten streak that includes all four matches during this season-long road trip. Nashville has a 5-1-3 road record through nine matches, including a 4-0-2 record in its last six. Nashville’s 18 road points are the most in the USL Championship. The Boys in Gold are also one of just three USL Eastern Conference teams, and five total in the league, with a six-match unbeaten run through league matches.
2) Barrage of Shots
In 90 minutes on Sunday, Nashville SC took a club-record 32 shots, 16 in each half, far eclipsing the previous record of 24 set last season in a 2-2 draw against Toronto FC 2. Nashville needed all 32 as the final one was Lancaster’s rocket which won the match. Ríos and Moloto led the way with eight shots a piece, now tied for the most in a single match by a Nashville player, and Lancaster contributed four in his 22 minutes. It’s another sign that head coach Gary Smith has turned Nashville into an offensive force, with 27 goals in 15 matches.
3) Dads get it Done
Nashville SC’s dads got it done on Father’s Day. First it was Pickens, a father of three, who stopped a penalty to keep the match at 1-1 after a questionable penalty call. Pickens finished the match with three saves. Then it was Moloto who scored the equalizer in the second half to make it 2-2. Moloto became a dad a little more than a year ago after he and his wife had a son during the 2018 season. He took eight shots and added six key passes in the victory.
After more than a month away from First Tennessee Park, Nashville SC will return for two matches next week, on June 22 against Ottawa Fury FC and on June 26 against New York Red Bulls II for Pride Night.