Nashville SC kick of their 2019 Open Cup campaign in Murfreesboro, taking on South Georgia Tormenta FC 2 of USL League One. Here's what to look for in tonight's match:
Nashville are coming off the biggest win in club history, dismantling Swope Park Rangers 5-1 on Saturday night. Expect a heavily rotated squad from the Boys In Gold.
Nashville has a really deep squad, and should be able to rotate while fielding a side that can still compete at a high level.
Vinnie Vermeer went off injured against NYRB II, but he's been training for a couple weeks, and should get the chance to start. Ramone Howell has only played one minute of action this season, but he had a great run in the Open Cup last year and will probably see significant time tonight.
Third-string keeper Danny Vitiello has yet to play this season, and tonight may be his only chance to get a game this season. I expect he'll get the start, although Connor Sparrow may well be preferred.
Cameron Lancaster hasn't played a ton of minutes this season, and tonight is a good chance for him to work on fitness and get back to goal scoring form.
New signing Derrick Jones arrived in Nashville yesterday. If he is going to be involved in this one, it will likely be off the bench. However, Gary Smith showed last year he wasn't afraid to involve new signings in the Open Cup, with Brandon Allen getting a start the day after his transfer was announced. Don't rule a Jones start out.
SOUTH GEORGIA TORMENTA FC 2
Playing in USL League Two, Tormenta advanced to the second round of the Open Cup after beating USL League One side Chattanooga Red Wolves 3-0. Even more impressive than the scoreline was the fact that Tormenta had only practiced together for a few days prior. They're very much on the front end of their season, having only played one match, a 4-0 win over Peachtree City.
"This is a group that I am sure will want to impress on the night," said Nashville SC head coach Gary Smith. "They are confident. They’ll also be pretty fearless in the way that they play. These are great opportunities for young players to make a mark against an experienced team, which we are. We will have a strong team out after having a run last year at the Cup, because we know this will be a stern challenge.”
Tormenta are a stout defensive team, and their midfield works hard out of possession. Midfielder Luca Mayr has a strong shot, and got on the scoresheet against Chattanooga. While they don't have the level of quality that Nashville does, they are a side capable of punishing mistakes, and could cause Nashville problems if they're able to get out to an early lead.
Score: Nashville 5 - 0 Tormenta
Scorers: Cameron Lancaster (x2), Tucker Hume, Alan Winn, Ropapa Mensah
Score: Nashville 4 - 0 Tormenta
Scorers: Cameron Lancaster (x3), Tucker Hume
Score: Nashville 3 - 0 Tormenta
Scorers: Tucker Hume (x3)
Score: Nashville 4 - 0 Swope Park
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Date: Tuesday, 05/14/19
Time: 7:30pm CST
Place: Dean A. Hayes Track & Soccer Stadium (MTSU), Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Forecast: 68°/60°. Sunny skies. 0% chance of rain.