The #DriveToNissan movement for Nashville SC continues to pick up steam as we inch closer and closer to the inaugural Nashville SC USL season opener at Nissan Stadium against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
The drive saw pit stops in the Sunshine State, with a couple of preseason games in Bradenton and Orlando. Nashville grabbed two draws at the IMG Academy, with a 0-0 result against MLS side Chicago Fire and a 1-1 final against fellow USL side Ottawa Fury. Nashville also played against MLS side Orlando City SC behind closed doors.
So what can we gather from the trip to Florida? The most noteworthy is the forward combination the team is looking for.
It looks like Nashville SC is still trying to find the right combination up top in Gary Smith’s 3-5-2 (or 5-3-2, depeding on how you want to categorize the outside wingers who have roles both on offense and defense). Michael Cox and Robin Shroot got the starting nod against Chicago, with Ropapa Mensah and Tucker Hume coming in for relief in the second half. Hume lined up with fellow UNC alum Alan Winn to start against Ottawa, with Cox and Mensah getting second half action.
Each forward brings their own strength to the table. Winn is quick, Shroot presses the defenses well, Cox can hold the ball up well in traffic, Mensah is a solid finisher and a bit of a fox in the box, while Hume is a large target for long balls and crosses. Mensah, Cox, and Winn have all bagged goals this preseason so far, and the others have certainly caused the defenses they’ve faced some problems.
So what’s the best combination? It’s hard to say. The sample size for all five has been enough through practice and preseason games, but we won’t really know what works until we get to the games that actually count, where there’s added pressure to perform and put goals in the back of the net in order to collect points.
Other than that, it seems like the 3-5-2 formation will cause some trouble against fellow USL sides. The personel know how to effectively pass from the back and around the middle of the park in order to keep the defense off balance.
Kickoff times for all of Nashville SC games have also been released.
Nashville SC has also been pegged as a 75/1 favorite to win the USL championship, according to the William Hill US sports book.
The Boys in Gold will play a scrimmage at Lipscomb University Thursday at 4 p.m. against the Bison. Those interested can purchase tickets here. The club will then travel up to Ohio to face FC Cincinnati.