CRITICAL THREE POINTS EARNED IN WIN
NASHVILLE – Nashville Soccer Club added another magical moment to its history at First Tennessee Park on Tuesday night as defender Jimmy Ockford headed a shot in stoppage time that deflected in to seal a 1-0 victory over Birmingham Legion FC.
It’s the second consecutive dramatic winner at home for Nashville after midfielder Bolu Akinyode scored on its final touch in a 2-1 win over Charleston Battery on August 24.
On Tuesday night, without its main creator in Lebo Moloto, Nashville SC flexed its defensive muscle against Legion FC, holding the visitors to six total shots and forcing keeper Matt Pickens to just make one save. Nashville then cranked the offense up in the second half, peppering the Birmingham net with nine shots in the final 45 minutes.
After hitting the post on a deflected shot as the clock struck 90:00, Nashville SC poured the pressure on and found its three points in the third minute of stoppage time. Defender Justin Davis sent in a corner kick to the far post, finding the head of Ockford. Ockford went back across goal with his shot and the ball knocked off a Legion player and into the net for an own goal and the winner.
Here are three takeaways from the victory:
1) Flair for the Dramatic
Nashville SC seems to make dreams reality in the friendly confines of First Tennessee Park with last minute goals. Just three weeks have passed since Akinyode sent fans into a frenzy in Germantown when he scored in the final seconds against Charleston to complete a 2-1 comeback win. It was Ockford’s turn on Tuesday as he placed a header across goal for the winner. Nashville has scored three stoppage time match-winning goals in its two-year history. All three have come in front of the supporter section at First Tennessee Park.
2) Pickens Hits 100
Nashville SC keeper Matt Pickens held Birmingham without a goal, giving him the 100th clean sheet of his storied goalkeeping career. Pickens, a MLS Cup and U.S. Open Cup champion, will add the achievement to an impressive tally of career marks for the 37-year-old. His 24 clean sheets in 53 appearances across two seasons with Nashville SC are the most of any USL Championship keeper in that span. Pickens is the all-time leader in clean sheets for three different clubs, Colorado Rapids of MLS and Tampa Bay Rowdies and Nashville SC of the USL Championship.
3) Closer to the Playoffs
The first goal for Nashville SC in the 2019 season was making a second consecutive trip to the USL Cup Playoffs. With the three points on Tuesday night, Nashville is just one more win, or a Charleston Battery loss, away from clinching a playoff spot. It could happen as soon as Wednesday night when Charleston plays Atlanta United 2. The win was also important for Nashville’s chances in its quest for a top four playoff spot and home match as it held serve amongst the Eastern Conference elite.
Nashville will stay at First Tennessee Park for a Saturday night showdown against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds at 7 p.m. The Riverhounds are right behind Nashville SC in the Eastern standings. Fan-friendly pricing remains in effect for all remaining Nashville SC home matches at FTP with $2 Souvenir Sodas and $5 Draft Beers, both imported and domestic.