KANSAS CITY, KS - Nashville SC never looked under pressure in Kansas City, cruising to a 2-0 win over a struggling Swope Park Rangers side. The club followed up arguably their best performance to date against Indy Eleven last week with a comfortable and expected victory.
Head coach Gary Smith named an unchanged team for just the third time this season, giving Alan Winn and Kharlton Belmar freedom to exploit the wide pitch at Children's Mercy Park.
After a back-and-forth opening 20 minutes, Nashville took control of the match, outshooting Swope Park 11-2 in the first half. At times, it looked like a match where missed chances would cost them, with Kharlton Belmar denied from close range and Daniel Rios striking the post. However, it was the former Rangers man Lebo Moloto who gave Nashville the lead. In the 43 minute, the no. 10 collected a cross from Belmar on the edge of the box and cooly slotted it into the bottom corner.
The Boys In Gold picked up right where they left off after the break, scoring just two minutes into the second half. Moloto was once again involved, playing Rios through on goal with a delicate pass. The in-form striker made no mistake with the finish, blasting home to the far post for his 14th goal of the season and his fourth consecutive match with a goal.
Nashville had chances to increase the scoreline, but did well to control the ball and limit Swope Park's chances. At the end of the day, it was a fairly routine win for a Nashville side that never really looked under pressure.
The win moves Nashville up to fourth place in the East, just two points behind Indy Eleven, with a match in hand on two of the three sides above them. The Boys In Gold are back at home this week, taking on Hartford Athletic on Wednesday and Bethlehem Steel on Saturday. Wins in both matches could see Nashville move as high as second place in the East.