Nashville SC shrugged the monkey off its back in the opening minutes against Bethlehem Steel FC and held on against the 10-men side for a 1-0 victory. A penalty and subsequent red card assessed to Bethlehem Steel in the 3’ minute put forward Michael Cox on the spot, and he didn’t miss, ultimately putting Nashville ahead for good.
After its opening goal, Nashville had plenty of chances to widen its lead. Numerous odd-man rushes and shots inside the box were either well-defended or just off the mark as Bethlehem hung around despite being down a man.
Both keepers were spectacular making numerous saves throughout the game. Steel FC keeper Jake McGuire recorded six saves, while Nashville SC keeper Matt Pickens earned his second consecutive shutout behind four saves.
Six foot Michael Cox (PK) – Cox converted the PK he earned to etch his name into the record books, scoring the first goal in Nashville SC history. The penalty was set up by a long ball from defender Liam Doyle which sprang Cox into the clear. He was pulled down from behind by Brandon Aubrey who was given a straight red.
Nashville nearly doubled its shot output from its first two games and had plenty of threatening chances throughout the match. The chances created show the building continuity of the new club.
“If you look now, the only mark on the good start to the season is being beaten by the champions in our very first game,” said Nashville SC head coach Gary Smith
“We are two unbeaten, two clean sheets, four points in three games. We can be very, very pleased with that. The development in the group took a step forward in the right direction especially with the slight change in the formation. The next task is to make sure we can replicate something similar in our next match,” he said.
Nashville will head back home to play its first game at First Tennessee Park since February 10. The opponent will be Charlotte Independence who are 2-0.
Pickens Earns Second Shutout in NSC’s First Win