Nashville SC Eager for Challenging Match against Hungry Charleston Battery Side
NASHVILLE - Nashville Soccer Club's six-match unbeaten run came to a halt on Wednesday night in a loss against New York Red Bulls II. However, that doesn't mean the Boys in Gold have suddenly forgotten that strong run of form.
They'll be looking to keep the good vibes rolling when they take on Charleston Battery on Saturday night at First Tennessee Park. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. CT, presented by Vanderbilt Health.
"You've got to be realistic," said Head Coach Gary Smith. "On the night, there were circumstances that certainly went against us, but we were beaten by a good Red Bulls side. I'll be the first to admit if we had been unlucky, but sometimes you've got to lick your wounds and move on. I think this one of those occasions. We've got a game coming up quickly against another playoff side, which will not be easy. It will be a very different game. The reaction has been great. Players are upbeat and are certainly up for the challenge. I think everyone can see that the top seven or eight sides, there's very little to choose between any of us, and we've got as good a chance as anyone in the fight for the Eastern Conference title, which is what we're aiming for."
Wednesday's match was a chance for Nashville to take over first place in the USL Championship Eastern Conference. Instead, Nashville SC finds itself in fourth place and in need of a result on Saturday night to keep pace with a tight group at the top of the Eastern Conference. However, the thought of what could have been on Wednesday night is not crossing the players' minds.
"Every loss is tough, but you look at it, and it was an opportunity to look at it and make a statement and be in first place and take those points, but it's behind us," defender Bradley Bourgeois said. "There's really nothing that we can do about it now. About this group and about this mentality, we're just trying to move forward."
While Charleston play a different style than NYRBII's high-octane press, Saturday's opponent still presents a number of challenges for Smith and his team. Nashville SC is looking to solidify a top-four spot, while Charleston is fighting to keep themselves in a playoff spot. Charleston has beaten Nashville SC twice this season across all competitions, but Smith thinks Saturday's match could look a little bit different.
"I think we had one of our heaviest defeats at their place earlier on in the season," Smith said. "They've consistently been a good USL side. They've got an awful lot of qualities, they're competitive and they're very well-organized. I think they've got a lot of pride in the way that they play. The playoffs are something that they feel is a necessity for them. They'll be fighting at the weekend given the position they're in to try and achieve that. Yes, they have had our number, I thought we played very well in the Open Cup game and deserved a bit more than we got. However, I do believe this game will be slightly different. It's a very important game for both of us. We obviously want to get back on track and be fighting for a top four spot, and I'm sure that they see that in their sights in the games that they've got left, they've got a couple of games in hand. But I know for sure that [Charleston coach] Mike [Anhaeuser] will be wanting to secure his playoff position and a victory at the weekend would certainly seal a good trio of games against us."
There will have to be some changes to Nashville's lineup on Saturday as defender Forrest Lasso will not be available after receiving a red card against NYRBII. Smith believes in the depth of his squad and that the next men up will be able to see out a victory.
"There's no doubt Forrest and Jimmy [Ockford] have been great additions to the group, but we've got good defenders here as well," Smith said. "Kenny [Tribbett] has been fulfilling a role in the central midfield, Bradley [Bourgeois] has unfortunately been on the outside looking in, but all of those guys are in contention for the weekend. With three games in a week anyway, there would have been some movement, trying to freshen it up a little bit. But nevertheless, we've got more than adequate bodies to get what I believe will be a tough job done. And we need to get it done."
Tickets for Saturday's match, presented by Vanderbilt Health, are available for as low as $5.
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