Nashville SC Looking to Continue Strong Run in Playoff Tune-Up vs. Atlanta United 2
NASHVILLE - Nashville Soccer Club already knows most of its postseason fate.
It has the chance to host through the first two rounds of the USL Championship Playoffs, and could have the chance to host throughout the Eastern Conference bracket with a win on Saturday night against Atlanta United 2. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m., presented by Coca Cola.
That opportunity to have a chance at first place pending the results of Sunday's Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC match, plus the opportunity to continue a good run of form going into the postseason, provides plenty of motivation for the Boys in Gold.
"We have to finish strong," said defender Kosuke Kimura. "We have been doing that since the end of last season. Everyone has that mentality. This could be the most important game. The next game is always the most important game, no matter who it is. Everyone knows that. Especially going into the playoffs, it's definitely one of the most important games we can play."
Back on July 15, Nashville SC sat in sixth place in the Eastern Conference with an 11-point mountain to climb to catch the Tampa Bay Rowdies. On that same day, Nashville acquired defender Jimmy Ockford on loan from MLS' San Jose Earthquakes, and he would go on to score his first goal two nights later in Memphis to secure a 2-0 win. The next week, Forrest Lasso joined the club on loan from FC Cincinnati and started in a 2-0 win over Indy Eleven at Nissan Stadium.
In total, Nashville has gone 11-2-2 dating back to mid-July when Ockford and Lasso bolstered the backline. Head Coach Gary Smith is thrilled with how the two stalwart centerbacks have clicked in such a short time in Nashville.
"I think by most people's standards had a pretty stout and competitive group," Smith said. "We got into the middle part of the season and, like a lot of teams, we hit a little bit of a slump, form started to wane a little bit. And at that point, if we were lacking something up front, we might have looked at forwards. We weren't. Our creative edge and our general play was very good, but we were conceding goals, so we looked at defenders. And I think at that point in time, if you can bring in two guys as we did of the stature of the two individuals, it gives everyone a lift. They've come in, done a great job and I think to their credit they settled in very quickly, not just to the team but their new surroundings and new city.
"And having both played at this level, albeit Jimmy in the west, I think they realized what they were in for. Forrest was not far detached from having been Defender of the Year at this level and done so well with one of our competitors the year before. So they were easy additions to make. The only thing I will say is that they themselves have really covered themselves with an awful lot of credit, they've worked hard, they've been good characters, they've given us an awful lot on and off the field."
Even with the good run of form and with potentially two home playoff matches locked up, Nashville SC is still motivated and hungry for a win on Saturday against Atlanta. First place is within reach, and home field advantage throughout the playoffs would be a massive boost. It won't be easy against an ATL UTD 2 side that hasn't lost since early September and will likely bring lots of young talent.
"We haven't lost in quite a few games now which is awesome," Ockford said. "Going against Atlanta on Saturday will be a tough game, but I think everyone will work hard for each other. We want a championship. I think knowing that, it's perfect timing for the way we're playing right now."
• Discuss this story on the United Soccer League Championship message board...
United Soccer League Championship Stories from October 19, 2019
- San Antonio FC Ends Season with 2-2 Home Draw vs. Colorado Springs - San Antonio FC
- Memphis 901 FC, Sporting Director Andrew Bell Part Ways - Memphis 901 FC
- Memphis 901 FC Concludes Inaugural Season - Memphis 901 FC
- Fury FC Fall 3-1 on the Road in Their Last Regular Season Game - Ottawa Fury FC
- Switchbacks FC Defy Odds to Complete Comeback in Season Finale - Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
- ATL UTD 2 Falls 3-0 at Nashville SC - Atlanta United 2
- Rowdies to Open Playoffs in Louisville - Tampa Bay Rowdies
- Hartford Closes out Inaugural USL Championship Season with 2-1 Win at the Death - Hartford Athletic
- Pickens Wins Golden Glove and Sits Atop USL Championship with 14 Clean Sheets - Nashville SC
- North Carolina FC Closes out Regular Season with Thrilling 1-0 Win as Captain Austin Da Luz Is Honored - North Carolina FC
- Loudoun United Defeat the New York Red Bulls II 7-3 at Segra Field - Loudoun United FC
- Nashville Moves into First Place with Win in Final Regular Season Match - Nashville SC
- Indy Eleven to Host New York Red Bulls II in Postseason Opener Next Saturday at Carroll Stadium - Indy Eleven
- Independence Go out with a Bang - Charlotte Independence
- Reno 1868 FC Clinches Second Seed in the Western Conference - Reno 1868 FC
- STLFC Season Ends with 1-0 Loss Away to North Carolina FC - Saint Louis FC
- Match Preview: #HFDvTBR - Tampa Bay Rowdies
- Bethlehem Steel FC Buried by Charleston - Philadelphia Union II
- Real Monarchs SLC Clinch Home Playoff Match with 3-0 Win over Sacramento Republic FC - Real Monarchs SLC
- Republic FC Downed in Utah, Play-In Game Wednesday Guaranteed - Sacramento Republic FC
- Battery Clinch Postseason Spot After Dominant Display - Charleston Battery
- How to Follow: Nashville SC vs. Atlanta United 2 - Nashville SC
- Nashville SC Looking to Continue Strong Run in Playoff Tune-Up vs. Atlanta United 2 - Nashville SC
- GameDay: LouCity at Memphis 901 FC - Louisville City FC
- Phoenix Rising Caps Historic 2019 Regular Season with 3-1 Win over OKC Energy on $1 Beer Night - Phoenix Rising FC
The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.
Other Recent Nashville SC Stories
- Randall Leal Called up to Costa Rica National Team for November CONCACAF Nations League Matches
- Doolsta Excited to Compete in First International FIFA 20 Competition of the Season
- Pickens, Tribbett, Davis Named to USL Championship All-Opta First Team
- Samuel Abraham Crowned Champion of Tennessee EA Sports FIFA 20 Challenge
- Nashville SC to Auction 2019 Branded Stadium Signage with All Proceeds Going to Vanderbilt Children's Hospital