Bob Lilley generally isn't an easy guy to please. And that goes double when his Riverhounds don't generate a single goal.
But he sounded all but gleeful Saturday night after his side, playing a man short for the final 50 minutes because of a red card to Tobi Adewole, hung tough for a 0-0 draw with Nashville SC at First Tennessee Park.
"The response was great," Lilley said. "Nashville has a lot of experienced guys and they were patient and made us do a lot of running. I thought we played with a lot of heart and a lot of effort and made a lot of good plays. They asked a lot of us, and we had the ability to compete well and come out with a draw, which is important to us."
The Hounds improved to 14-4-10, three points behind Nashville at 16-7-7. The Hounds are fifth in the USL's Eastern Conference, Nashville fourth. The top 10 teams qualify for playoffs, and the Hounds need only two more points over their final six matches to guarantee a spot. The bigger issue at the moment: The top four finishers will have home field for the first round of playoffs, and the Hounds can secure that for a second consecutive year.
Kyle Morton was unquestionably the Hounds' man of the match, making three sharp saves in the final 10 minutes out of his four total.
The Hounds' best chance came late when second-half sub Christian Volesky had a breakaway, but Nashville keeper Matt Pickens came off his line to steal the ball. Much earlier, Steevan Dos Santos narrowly missed the far post on a change of direction from the corner.
Full match highlights:
The Hounds' next match also is in Tennessee, Tuesday night against Memphis 901 FC (8-13-7), 8 p.m. on Tuesday at AutoZone Park.