Asheville City SC got its revenge and got back on track against a talented Inter Nashville FC side with a dominating 2-0 victory at Memorial Stadium.
Inter Nashville started all four players on loan from USL side Nashville SC. Asheville City wasn’t ready for them on Saturday but was more than prepared on Tuesday night.
It took 84 minutes for the Blues to find a goal in the previous matchup but found a second- minute goal thanks to the red-hot form of Cameron Saul. Asheville City played a ball forward that the Nashville goalkeeper couldn’t corral, and Saul made him pay as he rifled a ball into the back of the net.
The Blues strung solid attacks together for the first part of the match, almost forcing an own goal from the visitors. It wasn’t long however, until Nashville made the Asheville City backline sweat. The visitors found themselves on a breakaway in the 24th minute and looked to have a sure goal but goalkeeper Bailey Spade dove for the ball and stopped the potential equalizer.
Spade was brought into action again in the 36th minute when he stopped a Nashville cross that dangerously crossed through the Asheville box. While Spade kept shots out, the Blues’ attack looked to put shots in.
Just three minutes later Bruno Andrade crossed a ball to the waiting foot of Ruairi Croskery as he put the ball halfway across the line, but the Nashville keeper was able to get a paw on it before it crossed entirely.
Minutes later, Andrade found himself at the receiving end of a ball into the box and nearly forced a Nashville defender to put one in his own goal. The match went to the half with Asheville City holding on to a slim 1-0 lead.
Based on what happened in Nashville, the Blues knew another goal was essential if they hoped to come out with all three points.
After stringing together solid runs to start the second half, Asheville City lined up for a corner in the 53rd minute. Dominic Boland whipped the ball into the box where captain Jamie Smith soared above everyone to head in the second goal of the match. It was the confidence boost the Blues needed as they shifted to protect their lead.
Giving up five goals in Nashville obviously didn’t sit well with the Asheville City defense and they made it a point to keep the visitors out of the score column on Tuesday.
Anytime a dangerous ball was played in, Luke Matthews, Coco Da Mutten, and Smith were there to clear the ball away before it caused any harm. The backline prevented any chances on the counterattack, frustrating a talented Nashville frontline.
The Blues thwarted chance after chance and before too long, the final whistle blew giving Asheville City an important 2-0 victory.
Next up for Asheville City is the first-ever match with Greenville FC on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
Contributor: Alex Mcloughlin/Asheville City SC
Photo Credit: Shane Burke/Asheville City SC