BIRMINGHAM, AL - Nashville SC left Birmingham with three points, thanks to a penalty kick goal from striker Daniel Ríos. It wasn't a convincing performance from the Boys In Gold, but it was enough to secure the victory and push Nashville into 2nd place in the USL Championship Eastern Conference.
Head coach Gary Smith made four changes to the side that drew 1-1 against Charlotte, but kept the same 4-2-3-1 shape that he's been using in recent weeks. Nashville was on the front foot in terms of possession throughout most of the match, but struggled to create meaningful chances against a Birmingham side that defended well and looked to hit on the counter.
Birmingham had a couple chances and a penalty shout before Nashville broke the deadlock in the 63rd minute. In-form winger Alan Winn forced a turnover in Birmingham's half and drove the ball into the box, forcing striker-turned-centerback Femi Hollinger-Janzen to tackle him from behind, giving Nashville a penalty kick. Striker Daniel Ríos finished convincingly from 12 yards out for his eighth goal of the season, bringing him up to second in the race for the golden boot.
The match finished as it had started, with neither team able to create many chances. Nashville were able to close out the result and take home all three points, despite being held to six total shots, their fourth single digit shot performance of the season.
The Boys In Gold travel to Indianapolis this weekend to take on fifth placed Indy Eleven. Last season, Indy won both matchups, beating Nashville 2-1 in Indy and 2-0 at First Tennessee Park. The match kicks off at 6PM central and will be broadcast locally on MyTV30.