Photo courtesy Bethlehem Steel FC
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – An early goal and a red card helped seal Nashville SC its first win as Nashville held on for a 1-0 win over Bethlehem Steel FC at Goodman Stadium on Saturday afternoon. It was the worst possible start for Bethlehem as defender Brandon Aubrey was shown a red card after dragging down his man, clean through on goal, to make matters worse the referee pointed to the spot allowing Nashville forward Michael Cox to step up and send the goalkeeper the wrong way for the Nashville's first goal in the USL. With a man advantage, and up a goal, Nashville was content to concede possession through the first half but rarely looked troubled, heading to halftime 1-0 up. The best chances for Bethlehem came on set pieces and in the 55th minute Nashville goalkeeper Matt Pickens had to be at his best to deny a free kick from Steel FC captain James Chambers, before getting down quickly to block the follow-up chance. That would be as good as it would get for Bethlehem, as Nashville got the job done defensively to take all three points.
6’ – NSH – Michael Cox (penalty)
#BSTvNSH: Full Match and Opta Box Score
Three Things That Matter:
1. Despite being reduced to ten men so early, Steel FC actually won the possession battle claiming 51 percent of possession. This reflected how Nashville SC sought to get the victory, sitting back and absorbing pressure to hold on for the win.
2. One area where Nashville SC dominated was in duels, perhaps due to having an extra man to go into those challenges. Nashville won 59.2 percent of all duels and did even better in the air claiming 63.2 percent of aerial duels.
3. The shot count ended up being surprisingly even, with Bethlehem Steel FC just edging the shot count 13-12. But it was shots on target where Nashville really excelled as the visitors finished with seven shots on target, restricting Bethlehem to just four.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match:
Lebo Moloto, Nashville SC – Moloto was a vital part of Nashville’s first victory, with near flawless passing (89.5 percent), the midfielder also created two chances proving a vital outlet for Nashville.
Bethlehem Steel FC vs. Charleston Battery – April 8, 3:00p.m. ET, Goodman Stadium
Nashville SC vs. Charlotte Independence – April 7, 8:30p.m. ET, First Tennessee Park