Preview: Nashville SC vs Hartford Athletic

Nashville SC extended their win streak to 3 games with their 2-0 win on the road to Swope Park Rangers. This week, Nashville look to extend that win streak to 4 as they welcome Hartford Athletic to town this Wednesday. Here is what we are expecting from the match.


NASHVILLE SC


Nashville moved up to fourth place in the East this weekend with their win alongside North Carolina FC dropping 3 points to Indy. A win on Wednesday would put them in third and just 3 points behind second place Red Bull II. The Boys in Gold pulled out a 2-3 win on the road against Hartford Athletic, and with a squad nearing full health, they should have the firepower to get another three points.

Head Coach Gary Smith used the 4-2-3-1 for the third time in a row on Saturday to great effect. He named an unchanged lineup from the win over Indy Eleven, but as Nashville Sc plays three games in seven days, expect to see some rotation.


Smith has rotated keepers every two matches, but against Swope Park he opted to continue with Matt Pickens in goal. Coach Smith addressed the decision in the post match press conference saying, "

I just wanted to keep a group that had performed so well on Saturday, but probably more

importantly for that position, the fact that we had two brand-new center backs that had played

for the very first time at the weekend together. I just didn’t want to disrupt the sort of synergy

or continuity that might have been there from the weekend." Ockford and Lasso have not only had two straight games together, they have also had additional time on the training pitch. This presents a good chance to get Sparrow back in the rotation. Kimura and Washington will both be rested at some point during this run but Gary Smith won't want to change them both at once.


In midfield, Matt LaGrassa is questionable with a quad injury which means that both Michael Reed and Bolu Akinyode will be back in the midfield. LaGrassa could potentially see a few minutes off the bench depending on the extend of his quad injury.


In attack, Alan Winn has continued his fine run of form against Swope Park, even if he did not score or assist. Winn had a fantastic game against Hartford earlier this season as they struggled to cope with his pace on the wing. Ropapa Mensah is another player who had a fantastic game against Hartford and I expect to see him come in to give Kharlton Belmar a rest. Lebo Moloto will look to continue is red hot form against Hartford. The Eastern Conference assist leader (8 assists) has 2 assists and 1 goal in his last three matches and should have plenty of opportunity to add to his totals.


Daniel Ríos has been Nashville's most consistent performer this season, second in the Golden Boot race with 14 goals. Cameron Lancaster is listed as questionable with an ankle injury so I expect to see Ríos starting again with him potentially getting a rest on Saturday against Bethlehem. That being said, I would not be totally surprised to see a wrinkle from Coach Smith.

INJURY REPORT






Hartford Athletic


Last week, Hartford Athletic was able to snap their 3 game losing streak with a 3-0 road win against Bethlehem Steel. Since playing Nashville on June 16th, Hartford has won 2, draw one and lost 5. They will look to build on their road form and look to steal points against Nashville.


Former Oklahoma Energy coach and Sporting KC goal keeper Jimmy Nielsen, will look to build on their win last week and will more than likely look to name an unchanged side but if he does make changes expect them to come out in a 4-4-2. They have let in the most goals in the league and only have one clean sheet to their name which will make the task of keeping Nashville Sc from scoring a difficult one.


In June, Hartford was able to capitalize off some key defensive mistakes that Nashville has looked to have remedied but they definitely will look to get balls in to Sem de Wit on set piece opportunities. Bedoya and Alexander Dixon are also both coming off a strong game against Bethlehem but as long as Nashville is able to cut off service from the midfield, they should have few chances


PREDICTIONS

Ben Wright

Score: Nashville 5 - 0 Hartford

Scorers: Daniel Ríos (x2), Alan Winn, Ropapa Mensah, Lebo Moloto

MOTM: Lebo Moloto

Bold Prediction: Nashville goes up 4-0 in the first 30 minutes.


Jonathan Slape

Score: Nashville 4 - 0 Hartford

Scorer: Daniel Ríos, Alan Winn, Ropapa Mensah, Jimmy Ockford

MOTM: Lebo Moloto

Bold Prediction: Lebo Moloto gets a hat trick of assists and Jimmy Ockford gets a late set piece goal.


John Sloop

Score: Nashville 3 - 0 Hartford

Scorers: Daniel Ríos (x2), Alan Winn

MOTM: Daniel Ríos

Bold Prediction: Nashville scores 2 goals in first half followed by 1 early in second half before locking it down defensively


Andy Simmons

Score: Nashville 3 - 0 Hartford

Scorer: Daniel Ríos (x2), Lebo Moloto

MOTM: Daniel Ríos

Bold Prediction: Daniel Ríos scores a bicycle/overhead kickalso @dav


Have a prediction for this week's match? Vote in our Fearless Forecast!




MATCH INFO

Date: Wednesday, 08/07/19

Time: 7:00 pm First Tennessee Park, Nashville, Tennessee

TV: MyTV30

Stream: ESPN+

Radio: English-94.9 Game 2; Spanish El Jefe 96.7

Forecast: 91°/70°. Partly cloudy. 20% chance of rain. 55% humidity.

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