NASHVILLE, TN -Nashville continues its excellent run of form, extending it's winning streak to four in a row with a convincing 4-0 thrashing of Hartford. Athletic The win pushes Nashville to third in the USL Eastern Conference standings with 41 points.
Nashville's lineup remain unchanged for the third straight contest, as Gary Smith elected to go with the squad that had won three straight and had yet to concede a goal in 286 minutes of play.
The game started off in one of the worst ways imaginable. A horrific tackle from Mads Jorgensen in the third minute near the middle of the park brought down Michael Reed, with Reed's leg twisted in a way that made the entire stadium gasp and cringe. Reed had to be stretchered off, with the club officially deeming it a leg injury. Originally warranted a yellow card, the referee reversed his decision and deemed Jorgensen's tackle worthy of a red card, forcing Hartford to play with a early disadvantage.
With the energy and flow of the match disrupted so early due to the injury, neither team was able to get into a rhythm and generate any potent offense in the first half.
Nashville's first real chance came in the 29th minute. Kosuke Kimura whipped in a cross to the middle of the box that found the head of Kharlton Belmar. Although the header did have some pace to it, it still was not enough to beat Frederik Due.
USL Golden Boot hopeful Daniel Rios also had a great opportunity in the 41st minute. Alan Winn's deflected shot bounced to the feet of Rios, who tried to curl it in from the left side. His effort was just wide.
Nashville came out in the second half and asserted it's dominance on the scoresheet after having a vicegrip on possession (70%) through the first half.
The scoring began with a Ken Tribbett header. Tribbett found Taylor Washington's corner on a back post run and rose up to put the ball away to open up the scoring.
Daniel Rios extended his streak to five matches in a row that he's found the scoresheet. Forrest Lasso found the marksman on a through ball in the 56th minute, and Rios sliced his way through the Hartford defense to tally his 15th goal of the season, putting him level with Phoenix Rising's Solomon Asante for the USL league lead.
Two more goals followed. Alan Winn also continued his excellent run of form, slotting home a Rios low cross that Lebo Moloto left for the winger in the 64th minute.
Lebo Moloto's corner caused some confusion in a crowded box that led to a deflection for the fourth goal.
Hear thoughts from Gary Smith, Alan Winn, and Ken Tribbett from the post game press conference HERE:
Nashville SC returns to action Saturday when it hosts Bethlehem Steel, with kickoff slated for 7 p.m. at First Tennessee Park.