Film Friday: An uncharacteristic goal conceded

Hello and welcome to another Film Friday!

Nashville SC played to a 1-1 draw against the San Jose Earthquakes, and today we’re talking about the one goal they gave up. First, let’s look at the goal, then we can talk about what Nashville could have done better.

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Nashville stops a break and forces the switch to the right side. The Quakes’ right back, Carlos Akapo, combines well with Cristian Espinoza, then puts in a good cross that finds it’s way to Matthew Hoppe, who smashes it into the back of the net.

Let’s take it back to the start. Nashville is in good shape when Akapo receives the ball. The two center backs are close to the Quakes’ forwards, Shaq Moore is watching the run, and Brian Anunga is tracking back for support. When Espinoza gets the ball, Aníbal Godoy and Alex Muyl close in on him, while Dan Lovitz tracks the runner. The ball goes through Muyl’s legs while Lovitz is caught in two minds here. Because the ball was near him, he tried to go for it. The little stutter from Lovitz allows Akapo to get an extra half-yard to get his cross in. 

For NSC however, this shouldn’t be a problem. They still have all three players covered and Anunga in support. For Anunga, he just mistimes his interception and the ball goes straight to Hoppe. But lets track back just a little bit.

As the ball comes across, Jack Maher and Walker Zimmerman double up on Jamiro Monteiro, while Moore drops with Jeremy Ebobisse. Generally that is a good move, but it requires tracking back from the right midfielder to cover Hoppe. In this case, Randall Leal was nowhere to be found.

To be fair to Leal, Moore had Hoppe covered that entire time, and if it wasn’t for the double coverage on Monteiro, he wouldn’t have felt the need to cover Ebobisse. Leal also had his own man to cover and worry about. Honestly, this isn’t even a good cross, but lapses in concentration and poor defending cost Nashville a goal.

Before this goal, Nashville did a really good job to maintain San Jose, but the fresh legs the Quakes brought on and this incredible pass by Espinoza were something that Nashville couldn’t deal with.

Author: Valair Shabillamoved to Nashville as a refugee from Iraq at the age of 14. A fan of soccer from a young age, he used soccer to connect with a larger community in Nashville and adapt to life abroad. He's covered Nashville SC since 2019, co-hosting Pharmaceutical Soccer, and analyzing soccer from an audio/video perspective.

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