NASHVILLE, TN - Nashville SC never really looked troubled by North Carolina FC, cruising to a 2-0 win at Nissan Stadium.
In their second match at Nissan Stadium this season, head coach Gary Smith made just one change from the side that beat Louisville City midweek, replacing Taylor Washington win Alan Winn in the lineup.
It took Nashville the better part of the first half to figure out how to break down a packed North Carolina defense, but began to find space in the final third midway through the opening half. The breakthrough came in the 32nd minute, when Lebo Moloto found an unmarked Ropapa Mensah on a corner kick. The young Ghanaian headed home from close range with one of the easier finishes of the season.
Nashville went into the break having outshot North Carolina twelve to two, but the second half saw North Carolina find more space in behind. Forrest Lasso made several key interventions to preserve the clean sheet.
Head coach Gary Smith was uncharacteristically sent off in the 52nd minute after taking exception to a foul called against Mensah, but Nashville continued to press North Carolina for a second goal.
Nashville got it in the 70th minute from their talisman Lebo Moloto. Substitute Taylor Washington made a driving run down the left wing before lobbing in a gorgeous cross to Moloto. The South African found himself unmarked in the box and nodded a curling shot just inside the far post to double the lead.
From there on out, Nashville controlled possession and looked to hit North Carolina on the break, with a couple chances to add to their lead before the full time whistle.
The win was Nashville's fourth clean sheet in their four matches at Nissan Stadium, where they will play their home matches in Major League Soccer next season. The win pushes the Boys In Gold into first place in the East (pending the result of the Saint Louis vs Pittsburgh match). They'll play their final match of the regular season next Saturday at First Tennessee Park against Atlanta United 2.