Preview: Nashville SC vs New York Red Bulls II

After conceding late to give up a 3-3 draw against Ottawa, Nashville have a quick turnaround before taking on New York Red Bulls II on Wednesday night. Here's what to expect.

NASHVILLE SC


It was a frustrating result against Ottawa, but overall Nashville put in a pretty decent performance. They created plenty of chances, and overall they limited Ottawa to half chances at best. All the emphasis on scoring appears to have left Nashville vulnerable at the back, however. "We’ve been less focused, we’re more stretched-out, and that’s understandable because we’re trying to create space to score goals and be positive," said head coach Gary Smith. "I think the pendulum swung a little bit too far one way." Nashville will look to continue their good offensive form (10 goals in three matches) while tightening up a defense that has allowed five in their last two.

Smith has changed goalkeepers every two matches, and he confirmed at training on Tuesday that Connor Sparrow would start as expected. Sparrow has been really good this season, conceding just five goals this season, including holding Red Bulls to a single goal in their previous meeting.


I expect Smith to stick with the defense that finished the match against Ottawa. The back three of Davis, Bourgeois, and King have the pace to deal with New York's high energy attack, and will give Nashville a bit more freedom going forward. Out wide, Washington and Kimura have the pace to get up and back, and provide solid service into the box.


After Smith lamented how stretched Nashville's midfield became against Ottawa, I expect Akinyode to come in. He'll sit a little deeper and provide more defensive stability, allowing Reed to get involved in the attack. Moloto should continue to operate in a more free role underneath the forwards, allowing him to find pockets of space to play balls through the lines.


After scoring five goals in as many matches, Lancaster looks in line for a start. He should partner Ríos, giving Nashville a good mix of holdup play and consistent finishing. Ropapa Mensah has been in fantastic form, and will be one of the first options off the bench if Nashville need a spark late in the game.


INJURY REPORT

OUT: Derrick Jones (M) - ankle

OUT: Ken Tribbett (D) - calf

NEW YORK RED BULLS II


New York come into this match in third place in the East, leading the conference with 31 goals scored. "They tend to have a philosophy from the first team down," said Smith. "Press, to re-press, and to play with a sort of energy and fearless nature that you don’t often see." While they consistently score, they also leave space at the back and have been defensively lax on occasion.

As with any MLS reserve side, it can be difficult to predict which players will be with the team, even more so this week as the first team is missing several players to the Gold Cup. Jared Stroud has played in a more central role in recent weeks, and is the second-highest scorer on the team with five goals.


Their attack largely runs through Christopher Lema, who has created 42 chances this season. Kyle Zajec plays as a true no. 6, providing a defensive shield for the back four and allowing the other midfielders to get involved in the attack. They'll be without the services of Jean-Christophe Koffi, who was sent off last week in Pittsburgh.


Defensively, Jordan Scarlett has been a stalwart on the back line, leading the team in clearances and interceptions. On the flanks, Rece Buckmaster and Edgardo Rito are as involved in attack as they are in defense, although at times they do leave space in behind for their opponents to exploit.

QUOTES




PREDICTIONS


Ben Wright

Score: Nashville 2 - 2 New York

Scorers: Cameron Lancaster, Ropapa Mensah

MOTM: Lebo Moloto

Bold Prediction: Nashville concede another late equalizer to draw the match.


Jonathan Slape

Score: Nashville 2 - 2 New York

Scorers: Cameron Lancaster, Kharlton Belmar

MOTM: Lebo Moloto

Bold Prediction: Belmar comes off the bench and gets a late goal to tie it up.


Andy Simmons

Score: Nashville 1 - 2 New York

Scorers: Daniel Ríos

MOTM: Daniel Ríos

Bold Prediction: A leaky Nashville defense concedes at least 15 shots and is out-possessed.


John Sloop

Score: Nashville 2 - 1 New York

Scorers: Daniel Ríos, Taylor Washington

MOTM: Daniel Ríos

Bold Prediction: New York earn a penalty kick, but it's saved.

Have a prediction? Vote in our #FearlessForecast!


MATCH INFO

Date: Wednesday, 06/26/19

Time: 7:00pm CST

Place: First Tennessee Park, Nashville, Tennessee

TV: MyTV30

Stream: ESPN+

Radio: 94.9 Game 2 (English), 96.7 El Jefe (Spanish)

Forecast: 92°/69°. Partly cloudy. 10% chance of rain.

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