Leal scores his second of the preseason in strong four-goal effort
BRADENTON, Fla. – Nashville SC scored four goals on Sunday afternoon in a 4-1 victory over USL Championship side Louisville City FC at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
The Boys in Gold scored two goals per half after wholesale lineup changes, with Randall Leal and Daniel Ríos netting the first two, and David Accam and Abu Danladi scoring the others. It was the first preseason win in the club’s MLS history and represented another step in the process of tuning up for the club’s MLS debut against Atlanta United FC on Feb. 29.
First Half Lineup: GK Adrían Zendejas, D Dan Lovitz, D Dave Romney, D Jalil Anibaba, D Eric Miller, M Aníbal Godoy, M Dax McCarty, M Derrick Jones, M Randall Leal, M Alan Winn, F Daniel Ríos
Second Half Lineup: GK Elliot Panicco, D Brayan Beckeles, D Jack Maher, D Ken Tribbett, D Taylor Washington, M Matt LaGrassa, M Tah Brian Anunga, M Luke Haakenson, M Alistair Johnston, M David Accam, F Abu Danladi
Second Half Substitutions: Miguel Nazarit (in for Jack Maher, 75’), Tanner Dieterich (in for David Accam, 75’)
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Leal Back At It – Just a few days after scoring the club’s first preseason goal, attacking midfielder Randall Leal picked up right where he left off with a goal just three minutes into Sunday’s exercise. Off of a throw in on the left wing, the ball found its way to Leal’s feet as he cut towards the middle. With just a few feet of space, Leal unleashed a hard shot across his body to the opposite corner to give Nashville the early advantage. The 23-year-old Costa Rican international was a menace in attack throughout his 45 minutes of action, working along the left flank and into the middle of the pitch as well.
High Pressure – Head Coach Gary Smith placed an emphasis on pressing high up the pitch and forcing defenders into mistakes, and the players executed on that principle with most of Nashville’s scoring coming from high press. On Nashville’s second goal, strong build-up play from the defenders into the midfield sprung Alan Winn down the right wing. Winn played the ball into Ríos, who took a touch, collected the ball and fired it home. In the second half, Accam converted a penalty after Alistair Johnston weaved his way towards goal only to be taken down by a sliding defender. Later on, Danladi would become the beneficiary of a turnover in the midfield, finding himself with all kinds of space at the top of the box before firing in a fourth goal off the far post and in.
Squad Rotation – With complete lineup changeover from the first half to the second half, Nashville SC was able to rotate most of its roster. Accam also increased his workload in his second preseason appearance, playing the first 30 minutes of the second half and converting a penalty in the process. In addition, Miguel Nazarit was able to see his second bit of preseason action in the final 15 minutes of the match, coming on for Maher. Hany Mukhtar, Dominique Badji and Joe Willis were all given the chance to rest for this match.
With three preseason scrimmages done, Nashville SC is halfway through its first MLS preseason slate. Next up is Montreal Impact on Wednesday, Feb. 12 at 6 p.m. CT at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg.