Photo courtesy John Wilkinson III / Nashville SC
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Ropapa Mensah scored in a 94th-minute winner as Nashville SC remained perfect this season at First Tennessee Park with a 1-0 victory against North Carolina FC before a crowd of 9,047 fans. Nashville pushed the tempo early and almost took the lead in the 21st minute as a header by Matt LaGrassa almost dipped into the top-left corner, only for NCFC goalkeeper Alex Tambakis to just tip it over the crossbar. Nashville goalkeeper Matt Pickens produced a great stop of his own on the half-hour mark as North Carolina’s Marios Lomis’ flicked header almost found the net, but the hosts again went close soon after as Lebo Moloto screwed a half-volley just wide in the 33rd minute. North Carolina’s Austin da Luz sent a finish just wide of the left post after cutting in from the left flank to the top of the penalty area just before halftime, but as the second half began on the hosts claimed more of an upper hand. Ish Jome had a dribble and shot saved by Tambakis in the 64th minute, while Bolu Akinyode put a header from a corner by Justin Davis just wide of the right post with 14 minutes to go. Nashville captain Michael Reed fired on goal from distance with five minutes to go with a dipping effort that Tambakis parried down and controlled, and the NCFC goalkeeper had to produce another sterling stop in the 90th minute to tip over Jome’s shot to the top-left corner, but in the fourth minute of stoppage time Mensah bundled home a knock-back by Bradley Bourgeois into the net to lift Nashville to another home victory.
90+4’ – NSH – Ropapa Mensah (Bradley Bourgeois)
Three Things That Matter:
1. Nashville’s record of recording multiple goals in every game it had played this season at First Tennessee Park came to an end, but thanks to Ropapa Mensah’s goal deep in stoppage time the club continued its winning streak at its main home this season in the most dramatic fashion. Nashville had held more than two-thirds of possession and forced NCFC goalkeeper Alex Tambakis into some outstanding saves over the contest, but the side’s 21st and final shot of the game proved decisive in extending the clubs undefeated run to 11 games ahead of Wednesday night’s Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup clash with Louisville City FC.
2. North Carolina had come so close to becoming the first side to claim a point at First Tennessee Park, but after a stellar effort defensively came unstuck on the final play of the game as Nashville’s pressure finally found a breakthrough. After Wednesday night’s victory against Ottawa Fury FC, picking up a point on the road would have capped off a very good week for Head Coach Colin Clarke’s side, but the side will now have to pick itself back up after a deflating defeat.
3. On a night when a goal seemed as though it just wasn’t going to arrive, Ropapa Mensah popped up as the man in the right place at the right time to score his fourth goal of the regular season and move Nashville into the top four in the Eastern Conference in the process. The goal certainly wasn’t the prettiest Mensah will score this season, but that won’t matter one iota to Nashville’s fans or his teammates who got to be part of a jubilant atmosphere at the end of the night throughout the stadium.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Ish Jome, Nashville SC – Jome was active in the final third all night, finishing with three shots and two key passes as he helped the hosts pile up pressure that eventually told in a late winner.
Nashville SC vs. Indy Eleven – June 26, 8:30 p.m. ET, First Tennessee Park
North Carolina FC vs. Louisville City FC – June 23, 7 p.m. ET, Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park