Photo courtesy John Wilkinson III / Nashville SC
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Nashville SC got goals in either half by Lebo Moloto as it earned a 2-0 victory against Louisville City FC before a crowd of 8,610 at First Tennessee Park on Sunday evening. Moloto forced an early save by Louisville goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh in the fourth minute with a low shot to the left corner from just inside the penalty area. The teams exchanged chances just after the half-hour mark as Nashville’s Taylor Washington had a low shot saved and Louisville’s Brian Ownby saw his effort deflect just wide of the left post, but six minutes before halftime Moloto put home a first-time shot to put Nashville ahead. Louisville almost leveled in the 65th minute as Cameron Lancaster curled a free kick just over the top-left corner of the goal, while Nashville second-half substitute Alan Winn was denied as he broke into the right side of the penalty area by a low save from Ranjitsingh six minutes later. Nashville goalkeeper Matt Pickens made a big save to keep out a second free kick by Lancaster from 30 yards headed to the top-left corner in the 74th minute
37’ – NSH – Lebo Moloto (Ropapa Mensah)
84’ – NSH – Lebo Moloto (Justin Davis)
Three Things That Matter:
1. Nashville took its biggest win of the season so far, and a little bit of revenge for Louisville’s 2-0 victory when the teams met in the opening weekend of the season, as Lebo Moloto finally got off the mark with his first two league goals for his new club. Moloto entered Sunday’s game leading Nashville in shots with 16 without having anything to show for it, but against Louisville the veteran notched his 15th and 16th goals in the USL overall with a pair of fine finishes that should get the 27-year-old on track.
2. Moloto’s second goal with six minutes to go took the pressure off a Nashville defense that had done well to limit Louisville’s clear looks on goal despite the visitors recording more shots and holding more possession over the contest. Center back Liam Doyle was in the middle of that effort as Louisville looked to find space both at the top of the penalty area and through deliveries from the right and recorded 12 of the side’s 34 clearances that held Louisville scoreless for a second consecutive game.
3. Louisville was unable to take advantage of FC Cincinnati’s defeat on Saturday night to return to the top of the Eastern Conference standings as it suffered its first back-to-back defeats since July, 2016 while being held scoreless for the first time since late in the 2017 regular season. Louisville was unable to connect cleanly in the final third for a second consecutive game, with its best two chances on the night coming from a pair of Cameron Lancaster set pieces. Having hit the club’s first major bump in the road this season, it will be interesting to see what sort of reaction comes forth next Saturday at home against Atlanta.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Lebo Moloto, Nashville SC – Moloto scored his first two goals for Nashville as the hosts recorded their most notable victory of the season so far in a strong all-around display.
Nashville SC at Charleston Battery – May 26, 7 p.m. ET, MUSC Health Stadium
Louisville City FC vs. ATL UTD 2 – May 19, 7:30 p.m. ET, Slugger Field