Preview: Nashville SC Travels to Kansas City to Take on Swope Park Rangers
NASHVILLE - With two consecutive wins under its belt, Nashville Soccer Club hits the road to take on Swope Park Rangers this Saturday night at Children's Mercy Park in Kansas City, KS. The match will kick off a stretch of seven matches in the month of August after the club played just three in the month of July. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT.
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Last Time Out
Nashville SC hosted Indy Eleven at Nissan Stadium, the club's future temporary MLS home, last Saturday night. In a dominant 90 minutes, Nashville took down Indy 2-0 thanks to first-half goals from Daniel Ríos and Alan Winn. After a close miss early in the match, Ríos got on the score sheet after a great give-and-go with Michael Reed that led to a pinpoint shot in the center of the box for the goal. Winn piled on with a fantastic individual effort down the right flank culminating in a rocket shot to the near post. Matt Pickens made four saves to earn a clean sheet, the club's third in three matches in club history at Nissan Stadium. The match drew over 13,000 fans to Nissan Stadium, making it the fifth-biggest crowd in the USL Championship this season.
Swope Park Rangers currently sit in 16th place in the Eastern Conference with 15 points (Three wins, 10 losses, six draws). The Sporting Kansas City reserve side is led by 21-year-old Felipe Hernandez, who is the team's goals leader with eight goals in 17 appearances. For comparison, no one else on the team has more than three. The club has been on an up-and-down run of form recently, winning two, losing two and drawing one in its last five matches. Back in May, Nashville SC dismantled Swope 5-1 at First Tennessee Park, scoring three goals in the first 16 minutes of the match to put it away early. Swope's lone goal came on a long-range seeing-eye shot by Hernandez midway through the second half.
Storylines to Watch
Belmar's Bouncing Back
Last time out against Swope Park, former Ranger Kharlton Belmar had a solid night, netting a goal and adding an assist. Last week against Indy Eleven, Belmar was re-inserted into the starting lineup and had a strong performance as a winger alongside Alan Winn, nearly scoring multiple times throughout the second half. If not for a lunging Save of the Week nominee by goalkeeper Evan Newton, Belmar would have gotten on the score sheet. With a strong start at home under his belt, Belmar could be primed for a big night against his former club on the road.
So far this season, Nashville SC has spent a lot of time on the road and has found plenty of success. The club is second in the Eastern Conference in road points per match (1.75) and has lost just three times out of 12 road matches so far this season. However, the club has lost its last two road matches 1-0 at North Carolina FC and 2-1 at Louisville City FC, so the Boys in Gold will be looking to buck that trend on the road in this one.
Heating Up In August
In July, Nashville SC played just three matches, two of which were on the road. Saturday's match against Swope Park Rangers will begin a grueling seven-match run in the month of August, including four matches at home. The first four matches of the month are against clubs currently outside the playoff picture, while the last three matches of the month are against playoff contenders, including the top two teams in the conference in the Tampa Bay Rowdies and New York Red Bulls II.
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