NSC Must Stay Sharp

In Tight Race for Playoff Spot

 Nashville SC will face as close to a must win game as possible in the regular season on Tuesday night at First Tennessee Park. The Richmond Kickers, losers of six of its last seven games, will come to the Music City off a 0-6 home beatdown at the hands of Louisville City FC. Nashville SC meanwhile will try to pick itself off the mat after allowing a stoppage time winner on Saturday night to Bethlehem Steel FC.

Richmond Breakdown

Richmond has had a tough summer. Since the start of June, Richmond is 3-11-2, with two of those wins coming against Penn FC. The Kickers have lost by 3 of more goals in five of those 11 losses, and the 55 goals they have conceded are the most in the USL. The last performance might have been the worst of the season for Richmond when it gave up a half a dozen to Louisville City on home turf on Saturday night.

Offensively, Richmond isn’t much better, with 23 goals being tied for 31st in the USL. The only team with fewer is Nashville SC with 22. The -32 goal differential is the worst in the league. One weapon for the Kickers is Brian Shriver. The leading scorer has bagged seven goals this season, and has added seven assists. Shriver has created 33 chances, which also leads the club.

Primary keeper Travis Worra will not be in Richmond’s squad for the match, which means the probable keeper on Tuesday will be Trevor Spangenberg. Spangenberg has allowed 23 goals in 10 starts with no clean sheets on the season.

With 10 games left in the season, Nashville needs points. Tuesday night is a great opportunity for a bounce back win and three more points to move into a playoff position. The “Achilles Heel” for Nashville has been goals. Last in the USL with 22, Nashville SC has been much better at scoring when it is at home, getting goals in all but one game at First Tennessee Park. There will be no better chance to get goals this season that Tuesday night.

Part of that solution will be Gary Smith finding the right combination up top. Against Bethlehem on Saturday, Smith tried a combo of Ropapa Mensah and Alan Winn in the two forward positions. Other combinations have included Tucker Hume, Brandon Allen and Lebo Moloto. One new name in the mix is winger Kris Tyrpak. Tyrpak made his Nashville debut on Saturday and provided a major spark, looking dangerous whenever he was on the ball.