NASHVILLE SC NOW ONE POINT OUT OF FIRST PLACE
NASHVILLE – Two defensively sound clubs each kept their net clean as Nashville Soccer Club and Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC played to a 0-0 draw at First Tennessee Park on Saturday night. With the point earned, Nashville is just one point behind a trio of clubs in first place in the East and remains in the top four of the conference.
Nashville was the dominant team throughout the 90 minutes as a red card shown to Pittsburgh defender Tobi Adewole in the 40’ minute changed the course of the match. Up a man, Nashville SC controlled more than 75% of the possession and searched for a winner. The Riverhounds ‘parked the bus’ making it nearly impossible for Nashville to break them down.
The backline of the Boys in Gold was just as impressive, limiting Pittsburgh to just five shots and none on target. Nashville defender Forrest Lasso was not in the lineup after a late week leg injury, but the trio of Jimmy Ockford, Bradley Bourgeois and Ken Tribbett shut the Hounds down for all 90 minutes.
Here are three takeaways from Nashville’s third consecutive home result.
1) Ríos Returns to the Starting Lineup
The Eastern Conference’s leading scorer, Daniel Ríos, made his return to the Starting XI following a substitute appearance on Tuesday night. Ríos missed three matches prior to that with a groin injury, but was impactful in his 73 minutes on Saturday, registering two shots including the match’s best look in the 11’ minute. Ríos chested down a flicked on ball from Matt LaGrassa and deked around a defender. His low shot was saved by the Riverhounds keeper, denying the forward his 18th goal of the season.
2) Pickens Gets Clean Sheet No. 101
One match after registering his 100th career shutout, NSC keeper Matt Pickens earned clean sheet 101 in the 0-0 draw. It will be one of the least stressful shutouts for Pickens who didn’t register an official save as Nashville’s defense held Pittsburgh to no shots on goal. It’s the 11th clean sheet for Pickens on the season, the second most of any USL Championship keeper in 2019.
3) Tighter at the Top
One single point now separates the top four teams in the Eastern Conference standings after the results on Saturday night. Louisville City’s 5-3 win over New York Red Bulls II means that New York, Indy Eleven and Tampa Bay Rowdies are all tied at the top with 56 points. Nashville SC is just one point behind with 55. Nashville has four matches remaining, three at home, to solidify its status as a top four team. One of those four spots would mean Nashville SC hosting a home match in the playoffs.
Nashville SC will have a full week to prepare for its final road match of the season at Loudoun United FC. Nashville beat Loudoun in its season opener 2-0 at First Tennessee Park in March. Loudoun remains outside the playoff race with a 6-15-6 record this year. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Segra Field in Leesburg, Virginia.