Nashville SC’s Playoff Hopes End By Resolute Indy Eleven Defense

NASHVILLE, TN – It felt like another night for a late goal, but another Nashville SC stoppage time miracle was not to be. Nashville fell 1-0 in the Eastern Conference semifinals to an Indy Eleven side that took their chances clinically and defended resolutely, bowing out of the USL Championship after two seasons.

Head coach Gary Smith made no changes to the side that beat Charleston Battery 3-1 a week earlier, with Lebo Moloto tasked as the primary chance creator underneath Daniel Ríos.

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The first half was somewhat cagey. Indy dominated the opening periods of possession before Nashville took control late in the half. Both sides were able to find space in the final third, but struggled to convert that into meaningful chances. Dane Kelly had the best chance of the half, getting behind Forrest Lasso, but only able to put his shot straight into the arms of Matt Pickens.

Nashville came out of the half positively, finding Ríos in better positions in the final third, and putting in several decent crosses. However, it was Indy who opened the scoring. Tyler Pasher got behind Nashville’s defense and was able to bring down a gorgeous 60 yard ball from Drew Conner and finish to the far post. Lasso and Justin Davis were both caught high, and gave Pasher his pick of the goal for the finish.

Smith made the interesting choice to take off Lebo Moloto, the team’s primary chance creator, playing Derrick Jones as the 10 and bringing on Ropapa Mensah and Kharlton Belmar on the wings. Nashville were able to get space out wide, but their crosses were continually met by Indy’s three centerbacks.

Nashville thought they had equalized in the 88th minute, but Justin Davis was ruled offside as he tapped in from a deflected LaGrassa shot. The call wasn’t popular to the home fans, but the replays showed it to be the right decision.

Indy Eleven will take on Louisville City next Saturday in Indianapolis. Nashville SC have just over three months to prepare for their debut season in Major League Soccer in 2020.

Author: Ben Wrightis the Director of Soccer Content and a Senior MLS Contributor for Broadway Sports covering Nashville SC and the US National Team. Previously Ben was the editor and a founder of Speedway Soccer, where he has covered Nashville SC and their time in USL before journeying to Major League Soccer since 2018. Raised in Louisville, KY Ben grew up playing before a knee injury ended his competitive career. When he is not talking soccer he is probably producing music, drinking coffee or hanging out with his wife and kids. Mastodon

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