Updated: Oct 19, 2019
Final game of the regular season and Nashville is still in the hunt for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. After playing at Nissan Stadium, they are back at First Tennessee to take on Atlanta United II. Let's take a look at how we think the game will unfold.
With their win last Saturday evening, Nashville move in to first place for about an hour. That quickly changed as Pittsburgh secured an 88th minute goal to pull out a 0-1 win and move back in to first place. Nashville has the opportunity to go back on top with a win against Atlanta United II tomorrow evening. Should Nashville win, all eyes will be on Pittsburgh as they travel to Birmingham Sunday afternoon. A draw also would not be the worst result for Nashville but they would need Pittsburgh to lose and not just draw.
Coach Gary Smith is suspended for this game due to his red card against North Carolina last Saturday. Assistant Coach Brett Jacobs will take his place on the touchline for the game.
On Saturday, Gary Smith reverted back to the 4-2-3-1 that he has favored at times. the 4-2-3-1 allows Nashville to utilize the pace of both Allan Winn and Ropapa Mensah to create chances while allowing the fullbacks to get forward as well. Nashville is going to want to ensure that they stay in a rhythm headed in to the playoffs.
Daniel Ríos is quietly in a bit of a bad run of form with only one goal in Nashville's last 5. However, Atlanta United II have one of the worst defenses in the league having conceded 74 goals which should provide Ríos with plenty of opportunities to get on the score sheet. Allan Winn and Ropapa Mensah will lineup on the wing and look to provide service in to the box.
Derrick Jones played a roll as a subsitute on Saturday against North Carolina and did not start as I expected. This Saturday provided Nashville with the perfect chance to get Jones additional time before the playoffs. With that said, I think we finally see Jones get his first start since May 29th next to Matt LaGrassa.
As Nashville reverts to a back 4, I expect to see the first choice centerback pairing of Forrest Lasso and Jimmy Ockford starting alongside fullbacks Justin Davis and Darnell King. That being said, I would not be surprised to see Kosuke Kimura slot in for King.
INJURY REPORT- Will be posted once available
Atlanta United II
Nashville last played Atlanta United II on May 4th at Fifth Third Bank Stadium where they secured a 0-2 win away from home. The game on Saturday will see Nashville play a much different side from their previous encounter
Atlanta II sit 13 in the Eastern Conference and have been eliminated from playoff contention for several weeks. Dont be fooled by their place in the table though as they are arguably the hottest team in the East. Atlanta comes in to this game unbeaten in the last 7 games and boasts wins over Indy Eleven and Tampa Bay along with draws against Pittsburgh and St Louis. They may be out of contention but they are relishing the role of spoiler.
Head Coach Stephen Glass favors a back 3 set up, playing a combination of 3-4-3 and 3-4-2-1 which are almost identical. This will be a different look than the 4-2-3-1 that they utilized against Nashville back in May.
When predicting the lineup for a II team it typically proves quite difficult as players are moving up and down with the senior team. However, Atlanta has been utilizing the same personal as of late with just a few tweaks. Coach Glass may look to rotate both his midfield and forward line. Nashville could also see Youth National team stalwart Andrew Carleton but I expect to see him come off the bench for Jackson Conway.
Score: Nashville 4 - 0 Atlanta United II
Scorers: Lebo Moloto, Forrest Lasso, Daniel Ríos, Cameron Lancaster
MOTM: Lebo Moloto
Bold Prediction: Nashville registers 20+ shots
Score: Nashville 3 - 0 Atlanta United II
Scorers: Ropapa Mensah, Lebo Moloto, Bolu Akinyode
MOTM: Bolu Akinyode
Bold Prediction: Bolu hits a long-range effort that is nominated for USL goal of the week.
Score: Nashville 4 - 1 Atlanta United II
Scorers: Daniel Ríos (x3), Derrick Jones
MOTM: Daniel Ríos
Bold Prediction: Daniel Ríos scores the first ever hattrick in Nashville SC history
Score: Nashville 3 - 1 Atlanta United II
Scorers: Daniel Ríos, Ropapa Mensah, Alan Winn
MOTM: Daniel Ríos
Bold Prediction: All goals three of Nashville's goals come in the second half
Score: Nashville 2 - 1 Atlanta United II
Scorers: Ropapa Mensah, Daniel Ríos
MOTM: Daniel Ríos
Bold Prediction: Nashville goes down a goal early but equalize before the half.
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Date: Tuesday, 10/19/19
Time: 7:00 PM, First Tennessee Park, Nashville Tennessee
Radio: 94.9 The Game 2 (English), 86.7 El Jefe (Spanish)
Forecast: 72°/56°. Partly Cloudy. 20% chance of rain. 63% humidity.