NASHVILLE, Tennessee — Memphis 901 FC squares off against its in-state rival Nashville SC Saturday night in downtown Nashville.
Both clubs representing two thirds of the state will meet for the first inside First Tennessee Park at 7:00 p.m.
For both squads, this meeting will help to set the pace of the first quarter of the 2019 season. Memphis will be looking to jump into the Top 10 of the Eastern Conference standings with three points Saturday.
Here are three things to watch in Saturday's rivalry matchup:
Memphis will be looking to convert more of its chances in a spotlight fixture Saturday night in Nashville. Memphis created a season-high 12 chances against Atlanta United 2 and came within meters of equalizing off a header. While the club has six goals on the season, its 7.3 chances created per match is among the highest in the Eastern Conference. The chances are there and with new players getting acclimated, that average per match total could easily rise. Against Nashville Saturday, it’ll be about finishing those chances especially from inside the box.
One might expect expansion clubs to struggle defensively in their first season. Not Memphis. The club has embodied the hardworking toughness of the city it represents. Goalkeeper Jeff Caldwell has had a strong start to his rookie campaign notching 10 saves through six matches, including a clean-sheet win. Memphis’ backline has also been stout conceding just seven goals in six matches. Every single one of Memphis’ matches this season has been decided by one goal. While the midfield is often the focus when it comes to offensive production, the defensive play has allowed Memphis to remain in matches and have a shot at points up until the final whistle.
Memphis 901 FC has been at its best on the road this season. In its only three road matches, the club earned four points which included the club's first win (at Bethlehem Steel FC). Every opposing club will offer a different challenge for 901 FC and Nashville will be no different. But if this club has shown anything into 2019, it's that the road doesn't phase them. It all comes down to execution.