Match Preview: MOBA, Nashville set for Round 2 in Peachtree City
Okay, let's just take a second and make something clear: nobody ever said Nashville would be a bad team. The first opportunity the city of Nashville had to see Nashville SC in action lied with their U23 squad, so it goes without question that they did everything they could to make a team that could compete and win matches right off the bat. Their first chance to show the PDL what they could do happened to be at home against Peachtree City, and in just one game they showed any doubters that they are not a team to be taken lightly.
The season opener (and the 2017 season in general) did not start the way Peachtree City had hoped, as Nashville put four past MOBA keeper Nick Nelson in the first half. MOBA did get on the score sheet in the second half, as Matthew Wooling scored his first goal in MOBA colors, but at that point, it was too little to late for Peachtree City. Following up that 6-1 loss with a 1-1 draw in Statesboro against Tormenta FC and a 2-0 home loss against Mississippi Brilla FC that ended with twenty men on the pitch as both teams received red cards, Peachtree City got out to a very slow start. Issues that plagued the yellow and black last season continued to be factors in league play, as MOBA have scored just two goals in three matches and have conceded nine, despite dominating the three game pre-season with fourteen goals to the opposition's three. The two week pause in PDL play for MOBA was more than needed, as head coach Volker Harms looks to evaluate the issues and find solutions that will lead to goals and victories. During the two week break, MOBA did see some light at the end of the tunnel, and that came during their inter-league friendly with Atlanta Silverbacks FC of the NPSL. The first half of the matchup was evenly split between the two sides, as both scored, leaving the score knotted up at one. The second half was a different story, however, as Peachtree City came out of the locker room on fire, dominating possession and getting a number of scoring opportunities while leaving the Silverbacks' strikers with nothing to do for the entire forty-five minutes. MOBA finally saw the breakthrough they needed, as defender Daniel Shaw, who had subbed on at the half for Chris Avery, scored two goals in less than a minute, and Peachtree City walked away with a 3-1 victory. MOBA will need to carry their momentum into Saturday's matchup if they hope to have any chance against streaking Nashville SC.
Coming into the season, Nashville had high hopes for their amateur squad to compete and make the playoffs, and thus far, it is working. Through four matches, Nashville SC are one of only nine perfect teams, and the only one in the South Atlantic Division. Beating the likes of Tormenta FC, SC United, and Tri-Cities Otters FC, Nashville are unquestionably one of the best teams in the league, and the best in the Eastern Conference. Scoring sixteen goals and conceding only four, Nashville find themselves doing things that are unprecedented for any team, especially for an expansion side. Of course, playing all four of their matches at home has surely played a factor in their success, as they have played in front of their passionate home fans the whole way. Despite that, Nashville are a very dangerous team who can turn the tables of a match in a split second, as MOBA will need to keep up the pace for the full ninety minutes if they wish to kill Goliath.
Keys to Victory
- Pace: Nashville dominated possession and the flow of the match last time they took on Peachtree City, and this time, MOBA will need to keep possession of the ball and play going forward, not backward. Should they be able to play as they did against Atlanta, MOBA will see a number of 50/50 balls go their way, and scoring opportunities will be in abundance.
- Step up and Lead: Peachtree City have been one of the worst teams in the league when it comes to scoring. Going forward, somebody will have to step up and take control of the offense, as at this point, everything looks disoriented and broken. Play each game with the same intensity you did in the pre-season and the goals will come.
Tickets for Saturday's matchup are available at MOBASoccer.com/tickets, and hopefully this time the weather will hold off. We encourage you to come out and support your hometown Peachtree City MOBA, as they will need all the support they can muster. Should you be unable to attend, a livestream of the match should be available at MOBASoccer.com/PTCLive prior to kickoff, as McIntosh graduate and University of Florida student Sam Ellis leads you through the action. Kickoff is set for 7:30 PM at MOBA Soccer Academy.
Photo Courtesy: Nashville SC