Updated: Oct 9, 2019
LOUISVILLE, KY - For the first time in club history, Nashville SC has lost a match after scoring first. Facing the defending champions Louisville City on the road, Nashville gave up two second half goals to lose the match 2-1.
Gary Smith continued with the 3-4-1-2 shape he's used in recent weeks, playing Matt LaGrassa in a fluid role in the center of midfield and moving Darnell King out to a wider position.
Nashville got off to a strong start. In the 11th minute, Cameron Lancaster laid off a ball to Daniel Ríos, who rifled a curling shot off the far post from just outside the box. It was the striker's 11th goal of the season, tying him for second in the Golden Boot race.
The goal was the sole high point for Nashville. In the 24th minute, Lancaster went down holding his right ankle. After trying to play on, he eventually was replaced by Ropapa Mensah in the 29th minute with yet another injury. Louisville City pressed hard for an equalizer, and was given a penalty kick in the 40th minute after Bolu Akinyode was judged to have made contact with Magnus Rasmussen in the box. Nashville dodged a bullet, however, as Rasmussen blasted the resulting spot kick well over the bar.
At the half, Smith opted to bring on Kharlton Belmar in place of captain Michael Reed. Nashville started strongly, forcing two saves in the opening three minutes and looking bright in the final third. But Louisville was able to take control of the match, and began to bombard Connor Sparrow's goal with a barrage of crosses and shots. In the 65th minute, their attacks paid off, as Paco Craig headed home to pull Louisville level. Things got worse for Nashville, as stalwart Matt LaGrassa was injured on the play and was replaced by Lebo Moloto.
In the 74th minute, Louisville took the lead through Antoine Hoppenot, who got free of Justin Davis and had plenty of space to bury a cross. Nashville threw bodies forward in search of an equalizer, but only managed a single shot after going down a goal, and they ultimately were unable to take any points from the match.
Nashville remains in 5th place after the loss, now level with Louisville City on points but edging them out on goal difference. After going seven matches unbeaten in the league, they've now lost their last two. They've now played every team currently in playoff position in the Eastern conference, and have won only one of those nine matches. With injuries to an already thin squad, they have plenty to work on before taking on Memphis 901 FC on July 17.