Photo courtesy Lucy Gonzalez / Nashville SC
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A crowd of 18,922 fans were on hand as Nashville SC played to a 0-0 draw with Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC at Nissan Stadium in the club’s inaugural home opener on Saturday night. Pittsburgh went close to opening the scoring in the 33rd minute when Kevin Kerr’s close-range header went wide of the left post, and Joe Holland fired just wide six minutes later for the visitors from the top of the penalty area. Nashville’s Lebo Moloto produced the first real effort on goal for the hosts five minutes before halftime, but Pittsburgh continued to threaten and went close to taking the lead as Christiano Francois hit the post early in the second half. Kerr was denied by Nashville goalkeeper Matt Pickens with a diving header just past the hour-mark, but NSC went close to grabbing the lead with a pair of late chances that fell to Moloto, including one that was cleared off the line after a fine volley by the South African. Neither side was able to break the deadlock, however, as the points were shared.
Three Things That Matter:
1. The start of the Bob Lilley era for Riverhounds SC will have produced plenty of optimism at Highmark Stadium, and if not for a pair of good saves by Nashville goalkeeper Matt Pickens and a struck post by Christiano Francois it would have been a winning start for the Hounds after an impressive road display. Pittsburgh peppered Nashville’s goal with 12 shots while playing the typically stifling defense Lilley’s sides are known for, a very good combination.
2. The game took plenty of time to settle down, indicative of the newness of both squads as neither side was able to create many chances or connect fluidly through the midfield. That suited Riverhounds SC to an extent as it looked to counterattack, and once the side did find its rhythm Pittsburgh looked the more dangerous of the two sides over the final 15 minutes before the break, momentum it carried on to a strong second-half display.
3. Nashville almost grabbed victory late thanks to Lebo Moloto, who produced all five shots for the hosts, but taking the club’s first point in front of a spectacular crowd of 18,922 will be good enough for Head Coach Gary Smith on the night after the pressure Riverhounds SC was able to produce. NSC will need to be better in possession moving forward in the future completing less than 50 percent of its passes in the Hounds’ half on Saturday as it was once again held scoreless.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Kevin Kerr, Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC – Kerr was active in the attacking third throughout the game, recording two key passes and also going close to scoring just past the hour-mark.
Nashville SC at Bethlehem Steel FC – March 31, 2 p.m. ET, Goodman Stadium
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC vs. Penn FC – March 31, 7 p.m. ET, Highmark Stadium