Nashville SC Will Look for Tweaks After Solid Outing in 3-3 Draw vs. Ottawa Fury FC
NASHVILLE - Saturday night's 3-3 draw for Nashville Soccer Club against Ottawa Fury FC left Head Coach Gary Smith both satisfied and disappointed in different aspects of the match.
He was thrilled to see Nashville SC's three dynamic forwards in Daniel Ríos, Ropapa Mensah and Cameron Lancaster all find the back of the net, yet was not so thrilled to see three brief defensive lapses lead to three Ottawa goals. Nashville SC's backline has seen plenty of shifting around recently due to injury and suspension, but Smith still would like to see more out of his group that has become the backbone of Nashville's success over the last two years.
"I'm extremely pleased in the way that we attacked the game and the opportunities that we created," Smith said. "I think over the course of a couple of games here at home, we've found it difficult to get ourselves in positive areas and look like a home team. Our goal scoring opportunities and moments were, I felt, frequent enough to have won the game. But of course, bitterly disappointed in conceding three goals. What I will say is there are times when certainly with a slight change of focus in the shape of the group and also with bodies, or a particular body in Ken [Tribbett] who's been extremely productive for us as a center back. I do think that there are things that we can improve. The past that's seen us be difficult to play against and quite frugal in terms of conceding goals. We've now scored 10 goals in three games, but sadly we're leaking too many. A victory that I felt was certainly something we deserved, that we've missed out on."
Nashville SC's offense has been firing on all cylinders over the last three matches, scoring a total of 10 goals in the month of June. However, despite not losing so far this month, Nashville SC has given up a total of six goals in that span. That comes after giving up just three goals in league play in the entire month of May.
Smith, who has emphasized balance throughout his tenure as Nashville's head coach, will hope to get closer to that balance moving forward.
"I think there's been a huge emphasis, in fact I know there's been a huge emphasis within our work to be more productive going forward," Smith said. "But, four games ago, we've had four away games, I was sitting here talking about how we were going to create more chances, how we were going to break teams down, and today has seen a much different mindset and certainly productivity in the game. I'm delighted, of course, with the goals.
"Sometimes you shift too far one way, which I believe we have. We're now looking at the game in a very different light. There's a lot of positive play, creative play. All three forwards have scored again, which I'm so pleased about. But, maybe the pendulum has gone a little bit too far, and it's cost us the game today. I do honestly think that there are mindsets and moments in a game that I think definitely individuals, when they look back at the way the game unfolded, will believe that they should have done better. The final goal is more than preventable certainly in that midfield area. It's all part of each challenge that is presented here. There were lots and lots of good things tonight, certainly the goals against were not."
The Boys in Gold will have a short turnaround as they face New York Red Bulls II on Wednesday night at First Tennessee Park. NYRBII is the only club in the Eastern Conference with more goals than Nashville SC, so they will have to quickly figure out how to tighten up the defense while maintaining their electric offensive pace.
"We're not going to have an awful lot of time practically to work at this," Smith said. "I've seen this group keep many clean sheets and look very difficult to play against and break down. In many ways, it's a little bit like scoring goals. There's got to be an internal belief and a bit of pride in keeping that goal intact. There's more that can be done, I think the guys have taken some great steps in the other direction and they've now stopped thinking about the bread and butter work, which is giving good results. I'm not in the habit of beating teams 4-3 and 5-4. Balance has always been the key to everything that I've worked on, and like I said, I think the pendulum swung a little bit too far one way. I have no doubt in my mind that all of the guys in that locker room have the right mentality to see games out. They're just not locking in on that at the moment at the right times."
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