Preview: Nashville SC vs Charleston Battery [Open Cup]

Nashville SC take on Charleston Battery in the US Open Cup Third Round tonight. What should you expect from tonight's match?

NASHVILLE SC

Nashville advance to the Third Round after beating South Georgia Tormenta FC 2 by a score of 3-2 in the previous round. It'll be the eighth match in 24 days for the Boys In Gold, but with a bye week coming up this weekend, expect head coach Gary Smith to send out a strong team.

Smith fielded a heavily rotated squad against Indy Eleven on Saturday. Connor Sparrow, Justin Davis, Alan Winn, Kharlton Belmar, and Daniel Ríos were all rested against Indy and should be ready to go tonight. Derrick Jones is still pretty fresh - the match against Indy was his first start for Nashville. Matt LaGrassa has played all but eight minutes of the USL season, and came off the bench in the last Open Cup match, but he's crucial to how this midfield functions and should get the start again.


No official word from Nashville SC, but I don't expect Cameron Lancaster to be involved in this one. With the bye week coming up, it makes sense to be overly cautious and make sure he's 100% when they return to action on June 9th.

CHARLESTON BATTERY

Charleston beat USL League One side Greenville Triumph in the previous round, courtesy of a stoppage time winner from striker Ian Svantesson. They're the last non-MLS side to make it to the Open Cup final, losing to DC United in 2008. They didn't play midweek last week, but they travel to Louisville this weekend, so there's always the potential for rotation. However, like Nashville, they'll want to make it to the Fourth Round, where they could face off against an MLS side. I expect them to field a very strong side.

Charleston have used the 3-4-3 formation ever since they debuted it in a 3-1 win over Nashville on April 20th. It gives them lots of width and an ability to get bodies forward without leaving too much space behind.


“That line of three makes defensively a line of five, with two or three midfielders," said Nashville SC forward Daniel Ríos after practice yesterday. "It’s hard to break that defensive shape.” Nashville have struggled against a back three/back five this season. They've played against that defensive shape five times this season and only scored once from open play. Charleston's system is well-designed and well-executed. They'll feel confident in their ability to limit Nashville's productivity in the final third.


Zeiko Lewis has been their standout player this season, scoring four and assisting two in 10 appearances. Nashville fans will remember Jarad van Schaik from the previous meeting. The wingback scored twice, both world class finishes. He filled in at centerback last weekend against Atlanta to give captain Taylor Mueller a rest, but should return to his more natural spot on the left.

PREDICTIONS


Ben Wright

Score: Nashville 2 - 1 Charleston

Scorers: Daniel Ríos, Ropapa Mensah

MOTM: Alan Winn

Bold Prediction: The game is tied after 90 minutes and goes into extra time, where Mensah scores a late winner.


John Sloop

Score: Nashville 2 - 1 Charleston

Scorers: Daniel Ríos, Kharlton Belmar

MOTM: Daniel Ríos

Bold Prediction: Nashville scores two goals early in the second half to get the win.


Jonathan Slape

Score: Nashville 1 - 1 Charleston

Scorers: Daniel Ríos

MOTM: Alan Winn

Bold Prediction: Nashville advance on penalties.

Have a prediction for the match? Vote in our Fearless Forecast and reply with your predictions.


MATCH INFO

Date: Wednesday, 05/29/19

Time: 7:30pm CST

Place: Dean A. Hayes Track & Soccer Stadium, Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Stream: ESPN+

Forecast: 88°/74°. Partly cloudy. 0% chance of rain.


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