Preview: Nashville SC vs Loudoun United FC

Updated: Mar 9, 2019

Nashville SC kick off their USL campaign tomorrow, taking on Loudoun United at First Tennessee Park. Can the Boys In Gold get off to a winning start in 2019?


(Updated to include information from Nashville SC's injury report)

NASHVILLE SC

Nashville are coming off of a draw against Indy Eleven in their final preseason match. With a squad that's close to fully healthy, it will be interesting to see how coach Gary Smith sets his team up in a match where they are the heavy favorites. We expect Smith to send out a strong attacking team in an effort to get off to a strong start.



Michael Reed is unavailable after suffering an ankle injury against Indy last Saturday. Matt LaGrassa or Vinnie Vermeer could slot in instead, and one of them could replace Akinyode if Smith wants to go all out attack. Alan Winn is also out with a concussion, so we expect Lebo Moloto to slot in on the left. Ramone Howell could also play out wide, with Ropapa Mensah coming on as a sub.


INJURIES


Michael Reed - ankle

Alan Winn - concussion

LOUDOUN UNITED

Founded in July 2018, Loudoun United the USL affiliate of DC United. Their roster building has been done very last minute, with only 13 players signed to their first team squad. As an MLS 2 side, they'll see quite a few players loaned down from DC United, similar to how Atlanta United 2 and New York Red Bulls II operate. On Thursday, DC United confirmed that three of their players would join Loudoun for the trip to Nashville.




Almost no information is available on their preseason. They played two scrimmages, beating Bethlehem Steel 2-1 and Richmond Kickers 3-2. DC United typically operate out of a 4-2-3-1, and it's a safe bet to assume that Loudoun will use an identical system to develop players for the first team. Here's a shot in the dark at how they could line up tomorrow, including a couple players played out of position.



WHAT TO WATCH FOR

1. Will Ríos and Lancaster play together? The two strikers didn't play together a ton in preseason, as both had to work through minor injuries. Tomorrow's match could be a great chance to get them on the field together from the start.


2. What system with Nashville SC use? Gary Smith has used a 4-2-3-1 for most of the preseason, but we've seen a 4-4-2 at times. Smith will have to make some tough decisions and leave good players out of the XI, but that's a great problem for a manager to have.


3. How much will Loudoun struggle? There's a good chance that Loudon doesn't even name a full 18 man matchday squad. Expectations for this team are incredibly low. Nashville will prepare for the game in a professional manner and will take every opponent seriously, but things could get ugly for Loudoun on Saturday.

PREDICTIONS


Ben Wright:

Score: Nashville 4-0 Loudoun

Goals: Cameron Lancaster (x2), Daniel Ríos, Ropapa Mensah

MOTM: Cameron Lancaster

Bold Prediction: Nashville will have as many or more goals as Loudoun has shots on target


Andy Simmons:

Score: Nashville 3-0 Loudoun

Goals: Daniel Ríos (x2), Cameron Lancaster

MOTM: Daniel Ríos

Bold Prediction: Loudoun won't manage a shot on goal.


Jonathan Slape:

Score: Nashville 4-0 Loudoun

Goals: Cameron Lancaster (x2), Daniel Ríos, Matt LaGrassa

MOTM: Kharlton Belmar

Bold Prediction: Connor Sparrow starts the game and Belmar provides a hat trick of assists.


Davey Shepherd:

Score: Nashville 5-0 Loudoun

Goals: Cameron Lancaster, Daniel Ríos (x2), Kharlton Belmar, Tucker Hume

MOTM: Daniel Ríos

Bold Prediction: Loudoun doesn't register a shot on target or a corner kick.


John Sloop:

Score: Nashville 3-0 Loudoun

Goals: Cameron Lancaster (x2), Matt LaGrassa

MOTM: Matt LaGrassa

Bold Prediction: Nashville will open the scoring in the first 5 minutes of the match.

Have predictions for the match? Comment on this post or reply to our prediction thread @SoccerSpeedway.


MATCH INFO

Time: 7pm CST

Place: First Tennessee Park, Nashville TN

TV: MyTV30 (local)

Stream: ESPN+

Radio: None

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