Photo courtesy Nashville SC
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – First-half goals by Matt LaGrassa, Ropapa Mensah and Tucker Hume led Nashville SC to a 3-1 win against Chattanooga FC in the club’s final preseason tune-up at Finley Stadium on Saturday night.
Chattanooga threatened early on but were held at bay by some last-ditch defending by the visitors as NSC goalkeeper Matt Pickens made a good early save before two other chances were cleared off the line by Nashville defenders.
Nashville regained its composure after the early flurry and took the lead from the penalty spot in the 18th minute. After London Woodberry’s header from a corner kick had gone off the post, Bolu Akinyode’s rebound effort was handled, allowing LaGrassa the chance to convert from the spot.
Just over 10 minutes later Mensah doubled Nashville’s lead as the young Ghanaian took advantage of a defensive lapse to beat the Chattanooga goalkeeper to a loose ball before calmly slotting home a finish into the open goal. Hume added the third just before halftime, showing off his footwork to weave through the defense before finishing.
Juan Hernandez pulled a goal back for the hosts in the second half, but overall Nashville Head Coach Gary Smith was happier with his side’s performance after the break as it controlled more of the game’s flow overall.
“I was a little disappointed in the first period,” said Smith. “Other than the goals, I think there were some areas where we could have been sharper. I actually thought the second period we looked more threatening, despite not being able to convert. This was ultimately about getting players some more minutes under their belt and remaining injury-free.”
SWOPE PARK RANGERS 6, UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI – KANSAS CITY 1: Will Little and Hadji Barry both scored twice as the Swope Park Rangers wrapped up their preseason slate with a victory against the University of Missouri – Kansas City at Swope Soccer Village.
In a game played over 120 minutes, Little gave the Rangers the lead in the 14th minute as a cross by Parker Maher intended for Kharlton Belmar fell nicely for the for U.S. U19 National Team player to volley home his finish.
UMKC got on level terms through a moment of miscommunication between SPR defender Amer Didic and goalkeeper Eric Dick saw Didic’s backpass end up the in the back of the Rangers’ net, but before the first break Gianluca Busio restored Swope Park’s lead as he drove home a finish from the top of the penalty area after a layoff by Diego Rubio.
The Rangers then struck twice in the opening five minutes of the second period, with Camilo Benitez scoring from close range in the 47th minute. Three minutes later Barry notched his first of the day, surging past his marker before finishing, and both Little and Barry scored in the final period to wrap up the victory for the defending Western Conference champion.