NASHVILLE, TN - Nashville SC powered past Charleston Battery for a 3-1 win in their first ever home playoff match. Behind goals from Lebo Moloto, Daniel Ríos and Derrick Jones, the Boys In Gold set a date with Indy Eleven in the Eastern Conference semifinals next Saturday.
Gary Smith made just one change to the side that cruised past Atlanta United 2 last week, bringing Taylor Washington on for Ropapa Mensah on the left of a 4-2-3-1.
Nashville started the first half where they left off against Atlanta, creating plenty of chances and finding space in the final third. Just ten minutes in, they opened the scoring. Matt LaGrassa found Lebo Moloto in acres of space. The no. 10 took a touch to his right and blasted a low drive past 'keeper Joe Kuzminsky.
Nashville continued to create, but Charleston drew level against the run of play after Forrest Lasso fouled Nicholas Rittmeyer in the box. The home fans vocally disapproved of the call, but it was a clear foul. Forward Zeiko Lewis slotted home from the spot to equalize.
Just eight minutes later, Nashville went back on top behind their leading scorer Daniel Ríos. The striker found space in the box after a short corner and met Justin Davis's cross unmarked for his 21st goal of the season.
The second half was a tighter affair, as Charleston pushed for a goal and were able to pin Nashville back. However, in the 88th minute substitute Derrick Jones put the game beyond doubt with a brilliant solo effort. After beating two Charleston defenders, the midfielder was dragged down in the box, but still managed to keep the ball and poke home to the far post.
The win advances Nashville SC to the Eastern Conference semifinal. They'll take on Indy Eleven, who defeated New York Red Bulls II earlier in the evening. That match will take place next Saturday, November 2, at First Tennessee Park.