Nashville SC Draws USL Leaders in Thrilling 3-3 in Regular Season Finale
NASHVILLE - Nashville SC capped off an already exciting day with a dramatic 3-3 draw against FC Cincinnati in front of a record-breaking crowd at First Tennessee Park Saturday night, just hours after clinching a playoff berth.
Three different goal scorers found the back of the net to earn one final point from the regular season champions before heading into postseason play.
90 in a Nutshell
With some playoff pressure lifted heading into the match, Nashville SC cruised through the opening minutes and turned an early opportunity into the team's first goal of the night. FC Cincinnati's kryptonite, a.k.a. Tucker Hume, netted his second-in-a-row against the league leaders, heading in a cross from Alan Winn in the 5' minute.
The remaining 40 minutes of the first half were scoreless for both sides, in part thanks to Matt Pickens' huge save in the 34' minute that preserved Nashville's important 1-0 lead heading into the second half.
FC Cincinnati found redemption in the 52' minute when Corben Bone snuck behind Nashville's line and slotted a shot by Pickens. The visitors then found their first go-ahead goal just 11 minutes later after midfielder Nazmi Albadawi headed in a deflected corner.
The scoring ping-ponged yet again when Nashville equalized in the 80' minute after a textbook service from Ropapa Mensah dropped in the box at Brandon Allen's feet. Allen buried the ball past Cincinnati's keeper, giving him his third goal in two games.
Less than a minute later, Cincinnati responded and took the lead for a second time, once again thanks to Corben Bone. Nashville SC refused to falter, and Bolu Akinyode ripped a shot from outside the 18 completely out of the goalkeeper's reach. His late-game heroics were enough to lock in a well-deserved point in Nashville's final regular season game.
5' NSH- Tucker Hume (assisted by Alan Winn)
52' FCC- Corben Bone (assisted by Emmanuel Ledesma)
63' FCC- Nazmi Albadawi
80' NSH- Brandon Allen (assisted by Ropapa Mensah)
81' FCC- Corben Bone (assisted by Richie Ryan)
90' NSH- Bolu Akinyode
Nashville SC Head Coach Gary Smith
"I think if you had said to me before the game that we're going to score three goals against Cincinnati, I would have said that we'd won the game, especially at home. A very, very exciting game, and I think we've shown all of the spirit and determination that we're going to need if we can make a run in the post season."
Tucker Hume was difficult for FC Cincinnati to handle this season. Out of Nashville's four total goals scored against Cincinnati in 2018, Hume netted two, including one tonight, each of which were celebrated in iconic Big Bird fashion.
The Final Draw
Tonight's draw was Nashville's fourth in a row at home. The streak started on September 22 against the Charleston Battery, which was actually Nashville's first home draw at First Tennessee Park in team history.
Additionally, all three games between Nashville and Cincinnati this season ended in a draw.
Eastern Conference Update
Earlier today, Nashville SC clinched a playoff spot after Ottawa Fury FC fell 2-0 to the Charleston Battery, but tonight's point helps the team's case when it comes to playoff seeding. Currently with 49 points, Nashville SC has the potential to be a six, seven, or eight seed depending on two remaining USL fixtures.
With influential games tomorrow, Nashville's first playoff game location is still unknown. Regardless of tomorrow's result, the team will be hitting the road next weekend for the first round of the 2018 USL Playoffs.
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United Soccer League Championship Stories from October 14, 2018
- Nashville SC to Renew Rivalry with FC Cincinnati in First Round of USL Cup Playoffs - Nashville SC
- Get Ready: the 2018 USL Cup Playoffs Are Here - USL
- Hounds Complete Regular Season - Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
- Bethlehem Steel FC to Face Rival Pittsburgh Riverhounds in Opening Round of USL Cup Playoffs - Philadelphia Union II
- Steel FC Knocks off Tampa Bay to Secure USL Cup Playoff Spot - Philadelphia Union II
- Bethlehem Steel FC Secures Second-Consecutive Trip to USL Cup Playoffs - Philadelphia Union II
- Nashville SC Draws USL Leaders in Thrilling 3-3 in Regular Season Finale - Nashville SC
- T2 Earn 1-0 Road Victory over Phoenix Rising FC in Regular-Season Finale Saturday Night - Portland Timbers 2
- Republic FC Clinch Second Seed Ahead of the Playoffs - Sacramento Republic FC
- Phoenix Rising Looks Ahead to Playoffs Following Season Finale Loss - Phoenix Rising FC
- Lights FC Closes 2018 USL Season with Hard-Fought 1-0 Defeat at Sacramento Republic FC - Las Vegas Lights FC
- FC Cincinnati sets USL record of 23 consecutive matches without a loss - FC Cincinnati
- Real Monarchs SLC Shutout Fresno FC 1-0 in Regular Season Finale - Real Monarchs SLC
- Indy Eleven Fall in Tight Contest to Louisville City FC, 1-0 - Indy Eleven
- STLFC Makes Playoffs with 0-0 Draw against OKC Energy FC - Saint Louis FC
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