NASHVILLE – Nashville SC recorded its second consecutive win of the 2018 USL regular season on Saturday, topping the Charlotte Independence 2-0 behind an exceptional goal from Alan Winn and a stoppage-time strike from Ropapa Mensah at First Tennessee Park. The scoring started in the 24th minute, when Kosuke Kimura played a ball over the top to Winn, who found himself with plenty of room to work with down the right wing. Winn performed a jaw-dropping heel chop, cutting back inside, before firing a left-footed curler by Independence goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra. While Winn’s goal had Nashville’s fans on their feet, netminder Matt Pickens also turned some heads. In the 57th minute, Jorge Herrera had a great opportunity to equalize for the Independence with a free kick just outside the box; however, Pickens read his strike well and made a fantastic stop to deny the veteran. Pickens then set up Mensah's goal in the 91st minute to cap off the evening. With the result, Nashville and Charlotte are both 2-1-1 on the year.
24’ – NSH – Alan Winn (Kosuke Kimura)
90+1’ – NSH – Ropapa Mensah (Matt Pickens)
Three Things That Matter:
1. Alan Winn did not begin the year in Head Coach Gary Smith’s starting lineup, but he has impressed in recent weeks and showed what he is capable of on Saturday. The former North Carolina talent, who also shined in the Premier Development League for Tobacco Road FC in 2017, scored what is sure to be one of the better goals of the weekend around the USL. Winn continued to cause problems for the Independence until the final whistle and finished the game with a passing accuracy of 84.8 percent.
2. While the match finished 2-0, the Independence played Nashville pretty even, holding nearly half the possession while attempting eight shots on the night. Jorge Herrera, who has shined for Charlotte to open the 2018 season, impressed once again on Saturday. He led the team with four chances created and also attempted two shots on the night, putting a free-kick opportunity on frame in the 57th minute that was saved. While the loss – Charlotte’s first of the year – will hurt for the Independence faithful, fans should be able to expect Herrera's exceptional form to continue.
3. Matt Pickens will surely remember Saturday’s win – not only because he picked up his second consecutive shutout, but he also assisted the second goal of the game in stoppage time. It’s not often you see a goalkeeper tally an assist, but Pickens’ pass up the field in the 91st minute went untouched by all before Ropapa Mensah chipped it over Andrew Dykstra. The shot by Mensah, who subbed on for Michael Cox in the 78th minute, wasn’t easy either, but he remained cool and composed to finish the play.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Alan Winn, Nashville SC – The forward shined for the home side on Saturday, scoring the game-winning goal in front of 7,487.
Nashville SC at Indy Eleven – April 14, 12 p.m. ET, Lucas Oil Stadium
Charlotte Independence vs. North Carolina FC – April 14, 7 p.m. ET, Sportsplex at Matthews