Although last night was the first time Nashville SC has ever faced off against Penn FC (formerly Harrisburg Islanders), the Boys in Gold still ran into a familiar foe: themselves.
A 0-0 draw Tuesday night in Pennsylvania does reward a point to both sides, and put Nashville in seventh place in the USL Eastern Conference, but the other two dropped points could have just as easily been Nashville’s to take home.
The most notable chances came from forward Robin Shroot, who started his first match since March 24 against Pittsburgh Riverhounds. Shroot put in a strong effort to get himself in front of goal. The execution was just a little off.
So now Nashville has only scored two goals in four away matches. A somewhat troubling statistic considering the club is still in the middle of a tough stretch of road games in this early season (three of the next four contests are away from First Tennessee Park).
The shots were there, with eight in total. However, only three of those were on target to test Penn FC goalkeeper Sean Lewis.
“The first half was competitive, but there were numerous mistakes from both teams. We had two or three chances that we didn’t convert,” said Nashville SC coach Gary Smith.
“The second period we kept the ball and developed pressure better than we did in the first half. The amount of clear sights of goal we had as an away team. We were by far the better group. You don’t score, you can’t win. In front of goal, we fell short.”
There were some positives to pick up from this contest. Matt Pickens recorded his fourth shutout in six games, which leads all goalkeepers in the USL. Pickens finished the game with a pair of saves to preserve the goose egg.
So what needs to be done to fix the on-and-off offensive woes?
One easy fix is getting Alan Winn back into the starting lineup, who didn’t see any action during the match. Perhaps it was just because the club wanted to give Winn a chance to rest after three consecutive starts, but the long layoff upcoming for the club would have been a good opportunity for Winn to recharge his batteries, if they needed to be recharged at all. Nashville has scored at least one goal each time Winn has made an appearance in the starting lineup this season.
But the only real solution is getting plenty of reps in training in the coming days. Although it’s tough to replicate game-like scenarios in practice, getting down some shots on goal and working on the buildup to put goal scorers in the opportune position can only be beneficial.
“We keep working in training,” said Smith.
“I can just keep trying to work our team into good areas and get good chances. I can give them new ideas, but they need to finish our chances. I am frustrated we haven’t scored. We can be encouraged by the chances, but I am disappointed to come away with just one point.”
Nashville SC will get an extended break beore its next match, as it travels up north to face New York Red Bulls II May 6.