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Nashville SC Heating up in Preseason Ahead of Feature Match against NYCFC

February 19, 2019 - United Soccer League Championship (USL) - Nashville SC News Release

It's soccer season in the Music City as Nashville Soccer Club gets set to take on MLS' New York City FC this Friday night at First Tennessee Park. Two days after a major announcement about Nashville's MLS future, the fans will get a look at some of its future competition at the next level.

While Nashville is gearing up for the big week, Nashville SC has already started its preseason with three games. The club is 2-1 so far with wins over defending USL champions Louisville City FC and a 3-0 defeat of USL Championship newcomers Birmingham Legion FC.

Here's a look at what you missed in Nashville SC's first three preseason matches:

Nashville SC 0-2 Montreal Impact: First-half surge not enough against MLS foes

For the first time since October, Nashville SC took the field against MLS' Montreal Impact at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. The Boys in Gold fell 2-0 thanks to two late second-half goals by Montreal, but that did not tell the whole story of the match. The group that started the match in the first half dominated possession and earned chance after chance, taking five corner kicks to Montreal's one. Liam Doyle nearly broke the deadlock late in the first half, but his header off a corner kick sailed just wide.

With wholesale changes at the halftime break, Montreal began to turn the tide. Impact scored twice in the final 20 minutes to win 2-0, but the match was a fantastic opportunity for the new-look squad to come together and gain chemistry.

Nashville SC 2-1 Louisville City FC: Alan Winn dominates defending champs

For the second time in a calendar year, Nashville SC knocked off the defending USL champions Louisville City FC, this time by a final score of 2-1 at IMG Academy. After surviving an early surge by Louisville, Nashville got to work on offense and found the opening score. New signing Kharlton Belmar whipped a ball into the box that got parried away, but came right to Alan Winn, who laid a nice feed to Tucker Hume to give Nashville a 1-0 lead.

Louisville would equalize right before the halftime whistle, and both teams made wholesale changes at the half. Winn was one of the only Nashville players to appear in both halves, and it paid off as he tapped in the winning goal on a cross from Ramone Howell in the 70' minute. The match also marked the unofficial debut of one of Nashville's MLS signings Cameron Lancaster, a two-time USL Cup champion with Louisville.

Birmingham Legion 0-3 Nashville SC: Tucker and Taylor link up

After returning from IMG, the squad hit the road to Birmingham to take on USL expansion side Birmingham Legion. It was all Nashville from the first touch, and the road team finally got on the board in the 31' minute with a Lancaster tap-in from a Winn cross. It was Winn's second assist of the preseason and Lancaster's first goal in a Nashville shirt.

After the halftime changeover, Nashville continued to press, and Taylor Washington finally found the score sheet with an accurate cross to the head of Hume for the second goal in the 60' minute. Ropapa Mensah added one more on a Hume assist in the 86' minute to officially put the match to bed. Goalkeepers Connor Sparrow and Matt Pickens split the match and combined for the clean sheet.

It was also the debut of Nashville's other MLS signing, Daniel Rios, who looked dangerous in his 34 minutes of action.

"The two groups performed very, very well," Head Coach Gary Smith said. "They looked ever much more like an outfit that is ready for the start of the season. In the second half, Tucker's goal and assist were terrific, and it's nice to see Ropapa hit the back of the net. All in all a very good night, I don't think one person jumps out, but there has been some very, very good performances."

With the pair of preseason wins, Nashville has already doubled its 2018 preseason win total (a lone victory over Orlando City SC).

Nashville SC will now spend the week training leading up to the only home preseason friendly on Friday, February 22 against NYCFC. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 PM at First Tennessee Park. Tickets are still available at NashvilleSC.com/tickets.


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