Nashville SC extended their win streak to 4 games with their 4-0 win at home against Hartford Athletic. Today, Nashville look to extend that win streak to 5 as Bethlehem Steel. Here is what we are expecting from the match.
Nashville moved up to third place in the East after their win on Wednesday.They sit one point above Indy Eleven who have played two less games. A win on Wednesday would put them in third and just 3 points behind second place Red Bull II. In June, the Boys in Gold pulled out a 1-4 win on the road against against Bethlehem, and even with the team short at midfield they should have plenty of firepower.
Head Coach Gary Smith used the 4-2-3-1 for the fourth time in a row when he named an unchanged lineup from the previous three matches. The loss of Michael Reed for the season will require both a lineup and formation change. I expect to see Nashville SC play the 3-4-3 that they moved to in the second half against Hartford.
Smith called on Matt Pickens for the 4th time in a row against Hartford but I expect to see Connor Sparrow back in the net. Coach Smith has talked about wanting to keep both keepers fresh do expect for him to make that change. The loss in midfield necessitates changes in defense as well. Ken Tribbett will drop back in to the middle of a 3 man back line with Forrest Lasso and Jimmy Ockford. Taylor Washington will then push up in to the wing back position on the left opposite Kharlton Belmar
In midfield, Matt LaGrassa is questionable with a quad injury and Michael Reed is out for the season after the horrible injury he sustained against Hartford. Lebo Moloto will drop back in to the midfield next Bolu Akinyode.
In attack, Alan Winn returned to his goal scoring form against Hartford after being held off the score sheet against Swope. Roppa Mensah will see his return to the starting 11 after coming off the bench to start the second half on Wednesday. His goal was eventually ruled as an own goal but he continued to be an attacking threat creating space for others.
Daniel Ríos has been Nashville's most consistent performer this season, tied in the Golden Boot race with 15 goals. Cameron Lancaster is still listed as questionable with an ankle injury so I expect to see Ríos starting again.
Bethlehem have struggled as of late winning only one of their last 5 games. There most recent game came in the form of a 0-3 loss at home to Hartford Athletic. Currently they sit 13th in the table but just three points outside the playoffs.
Bethlehem as struggled greatly on the defensive side conceding 44 goals making them the 3rd worse defense in the league. Regardless of their defensive issues, they will show up today and push Nashville hard.
Score: Nashville 4 - 0 Bethlehem
Scorers: Daniel Ríos, Forrest Lasso, Ropapa Mensah, Lebo Moloto
MOTM: Lebo Moloto
Bold Prediction: Lasso and Ockford each have over 87% pass completions
Score: Nashville 3 - 0 Bethlehem
Scorer: Daniel Ríos, Alan Winn, Ropapa Mensah
MOTM: Alan Winn
Bold Prediction: Alan Winn scores and provides two assists that earn him a spot on the USL Team of the Week
Score: Nashville 2 - 0 Bethlehem
Scorer: Daniel Ríos, Ropapa Mensah
MOTM: Ropapa Mensah
Bold Prediction: Nashville limits Steel to only two shots on target and has over 60% possession
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Date: Saturday, 08/10/19
Time: 7:00 pm First Tennessee Park, Nashville, Tennessee
Radio: English-94.9 Game 2; Spanish El Jefe 96.7
Forecast: 92°/69°. Partly cloudy. 20% chance of rain. 57% humidity.