Photo courtesy John Wilkinson III / Nashville SC
1. Nashville SC continued its upswing in form over the past two weeks with a 2-0 victory against Ottawa Fury FC before a sellout crowd of 8,694 fans at First Tennessee Park that gave the hosts a leg up on the club from Canada’s capital in the Eastern Conference standings while also maintaining its game in hand on its visitors. Nashville did lots of little things right to ensure it took its seventh home win of the season and ensured that its last outing against Canadian opposition was firmly put in the rear-view mirror ahead of next Saturday’s visit to Louisville City FC.
2. Earlier in the night, Louisville maintained its position in the top four of the USL Eastern Conference after scoring five consecutive goals to rally past the New York Red Bulls II at MSU Soccer Park in a 6-4 victory that matched the total for most goals in a game this regular season. Louisville conceded twice inside the opening 15 minutes as New York’s typical home attacking pressure got the hosts out to a perfect start, but Louisville’s movement in the attacking third ended up pulling the Red Bulls II’s defense open to where the visitors scored four goals in a 20-minute span either side of halftime to take control of the game for good.
3. With a hat trick for Cameron Lancaster and a pair of goals by Ilija Ilic, Louisville's attacking duo continued their strong recent runs of form and now sit as the highest-scoring duo in the league with 22 combined goals between them, three more than FC Cincinnati’s pair of Danni Konig and Emmanuel Ledesma. Ilic got the comeback on its way with an excellent bicycle-kick finish in the 18th minute, while Lancaster’s hat trick showed off all the English forward’s range as a striker with a powerful finish to start, an instinctive header to follow and a great individual effort to wrap up the points for the visitors.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Nashville SC scored once in either half to earn a 2-0 victory against Ottawa Fury FC before a sellout crowd of 8,694 fans at First Tennessee Park. Nashville took the lead in the 31st minute as Matt LaGrassa put home his first goal for the side after a good piece of work by Lebo Moloto to create space for a low cross from the left. The hosts almost doubled their advantage just before halftime as a looping header by London Woodberry was kept out by Fury FC goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau, but the hosts took a two-goal lead from the penalty spot in the 59th minute as Brandon Allen converted after Tucker Hume was brought down as he went for a header on a free kick. Allen twice went close to a second on the night five minutes later, only to be denied both times by Crepeau, and Nashville goalkeeper Matt Pickens then came up with a big save to keep out Carl Haworth’s drive from 20 yards out for the visitors before a counterattack saw both Allen and Hume go close as the game began to open up. Ottawa almost struck with three minutes to go as Daniel Kinumbe almost marked his professional debut with a goal, ringing the right post with an excellent shot from the left side of the penalty area, but Nashville saw out the remaining minutes to reverse the score from the first meeting between the clubs this season.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Tucker Hume, Nashville SC – Hume was a workhorse leading the line for NSC, winning 13 of 20 duels overall and winning the penalty kick that Brandon Allen put away as an insurance goal in the second half.
MONTCLAIR, N.J. – Louisville City FC took a 6-4 victory against the New York Red Bulls II at MSU Soccer Park on Friday night as Cameron Lancaster had a hat trick to move into the lead in the race for the USL Golden Boot. The Red Bulls II opened the scoring in just the seventh minute as Tom Barlow in behind the Louisville defense and centered for Andrew Tinari for a first-time finish. Five minutes later, New York’s Ethan Kutler hit the outside of the left post with a free kick that was pegged for the top-left corner from 20 yards, but the right-sided player doubled the Red Bulls II’s lead with a low shot to the left corner. Louisville hit back in the 18th minute as Ilija Ilic finished off a near-post flick by Lancaster on a cross from the left with a bicycle-kick finish, and almost leveled seven minutes only for Red Bulls II goalkeeper Evan Louro to keep out a finish by Lancaster from eight yards. Lancaster struck just before halftime, however, to level the game as he squeezed home a finish under pressure into the right corner and the visitors took the lead in the 48th minute as George Davis IV scored his second in as many games with a low shot from the right side of the penalty area. Louisville made it a two-goal lead five minutes later as Ilic clipped home Oscar Jimenez’s free kick at close range, and Lancaster’s second of the night off a header gave the visitors their fifth of the night as he headed home after Paolo DelPiccolo had headed Jimenez’s corner kick back across the penalty area. New York pulled back a goal in the 80th minute when Jose Anguinaga put home a low shot after the ball had pinballed around the penalty area, only for Lancaster to complete his hat trick with two minutes to go to restore the visitor’s three-goal lead. The Red Bulls II replied once more in stoppage time as Hassan Ndam scored from the penalty spot, but that would be all as Louisville claimed all three points.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Cameron Lancaster, Louisville City FC – Lancaster’s first hat trick of the season alongside Ilija Ilic’s brace powered the Louisville attack to its biggest attacking display of the season in a thrilling victory.