Nashville SC and MLS side Chicago Fire played to a 0-0 draw yesterday at IMG Academy in Bradeton, Fla. The result marked the first clean sheet in team history for The Boys in Gold, who at times looked like the superior side against a team who made the MLS playoffs last season.
It appears that Nashville SC has a problem, but it’s a good problem at that. Both goalkeepers, Matt Pickens and CJ Cochran, appear to be more than capable of starting a full 90-minute match and being able to tend the net. Pickens we knew was capable, due to his past history in MLS with a championship side. Cochran, however, was a bit of an unknown commodity, having only 19 league appearances prior to coming to the Music City.
The former Oklahoma City Energy net tender came in during the second half, much like against Atlanta United, and pulled off some spectacular saves.
So now Nashville SC has a similar situation much like a fellow professional team in the community, the Nashville Predators. Both teams have two goalkeepers, one a savy veteran (Pekka Rinne, Matt Pickens) and the other a young upstart (Juuse Saros, CJ Cochran), who can tend the net on any given night in relief of the other. No doubt that head coach Gary Smith will probably take the same approach towards his goalkeepers as the Predators and Peter Laviolette have done towards Saros and Rinne.
Some other observations from Nashville SC vs. Chicago Fire.
Forward combination missing: The only thing missing from yesterday’s result were the goals. The defense and midfield for Nashville seemed to have found their chemistry. The combination passing from those parts of the field were crisp and had purpose, and it showed yesterday. Nashville SC appears to still be looking for the right combination of players up top. Robin Shroot had two great chances in the first half, but they were mostly due to a couple of errors from Fire keeper Stefan Cleveland. I do think the goals will come sooner rather than later, mostly in part that the next talking point will start seeing some more action.
WINNing: Alan Winn once again continues to make a statement each time he takes the pitch. Winn had a couple of opportunities in the second half to put Nashville ahead, including a sitter, but he was unable to covert. It’s obvious how much of a difference maker the former University of North Carolina Tarheel is. Don’t be surprised if he makes his way into a starting role later this season, or is one of the first to come off the bench when Nashville SC needs a spark.
What’s next?: Nashville SC will play tomorrow afternoon against fellow USL side Ottowa Fury. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. C.T. No doubt that Nashville SC is heading into this match with loads of confidence after Wednesday’s showing.