LIVE ON-AIR Studio Line:

(615)844-5600 or (888)702-5494


Forgot Password

Not a Member? Sign up here!

Nashville SC game reports

Nashville SC earns a point after lackluster performance against the Seattle Sounders

Nashville SC and the Seattle Sounders both fail to provide much attacking threat on either side which sees Saturday night’s match end in a 0-0 draw. If not for a VAR reversal on a goal given on the field for the Sounders, Nashville would’ve came away with nothing. 


    Coming into Saturday night’s match Nashville SC had the chance to officially punch their ticket in the MLS playoffs with just a win against Seattle. After a nice quick road trip defeating Sporting KC & tying to San Jose, Nashville looked to continue their nice form. However even with a draw and some helps from a few other teams Nashville is locked into the playoffs for the fourth year in a row. 


    That form didn’t necessarily carry over at least in terms of attacking play, especially the threat they offered against Sporting KC. The attacking side of the pitch continues to be the biggest question mark for Nashville to be serious contenders in a loaded Eastern Confrence. 


    It seems like months and months ago when Nashville SC players Sam Surridge & Hany Mukhtar were connecting with ease back in the Leagues Cup run. However that connection has not carried over into MLS play and you can tell from the sidelines how frustrating it is for Nashville’s new striker. After coming off early into the second half the frustration from Surridge was clear and visible asking “Why am I coming off”?


    Mukhtar who hasn’t been able to keep up the record breaking numbers like he was at the start of the season won’t be able to carry this attack on his own. He will need Nashville SC players like, Surridge, Jacob Shaffelburg, and Randall Leal to help replace those goals that Mukhtar was scoring at a record place. 


    Nashville will get a chance to respond to tonight’s draw on Wednesday night as they are back in action against at Geodis Park as Orlando City comes to town.


Patton Cook / WNSR Columnist 

Follow Patton Cook on Twitter 


Nashville SC avoids near disaster with 98th minute, game tying penalty kick

Nashville SC’s Hany Mukhtar scored late into stoppage time from the penalty spot to rescue a point at home versus Charlotte FC. Disappointing night overall for Nashville that continues a troubling trend of now six matches in league play without a win.


Nashville SC started with a much stronger lineup on Saturday night compared to how they lined up against Inter Miami. Nashville SC Manager, Gary Smith, made four changes (Hany Mukhtar, Anibal Godoy, Sam Surridge, and Jacob Shaffelburg) all were back in the starting XI.


            Even with a strong lineup from the very beginning of the match, Nashville never looked like they were clicking. It seemed the strong linkup between midfield to attack that has been present for so much of the season was just not there on Saturday night. This led to a very lackluster performance from the home side against a struggling Charlotte FC team.

90 minutes seemingly came and went without very little action from either side. That was until all mayhem broke loose in stoppage time with the score still 0-0. Charlotte FC would finally break the deadlock in the 93rd minute seemingly out of nothing. Charlotte’s substitute midfielder, Scott Arfield, from outside the box laced one into the back of the net. This brought extreme panic inside Geoids Park on just how bad this could affect Nashville’s standings in the Eastern Conference. Similarly to Charlotte, Nashville out of nowhere is gifted a penalty after sloppy defending led to McNaughton being fouled inside the box. As he always does, Mukhtar converted his penalty in the final kick of the game to secure a point.


            Nashville SC for the remainder of the regular season is going to be under immense pressure especially at home to collect all three points. Coming into Saturday night’s match in 7th place, NSC was five points off third, but also only seven points from the cutoff line into the MLS playoffs. With teams like Inter Miami who are poised to steal a playoff spot, Nashville must give themselves a cushion for those final playoff spots, especially if they want to have any hope of having home games at Geodis Park once the postseason kicks off.


Patton Cook / WNSR Columnist

@Patton_Cook on Twitter 

Lionel Messi & Inter Miami beat Nashville SC in a dramatic penalty shootout

In the first-ever Leagues Cup Final it took 11 penalties for each team for a victor to be crowned. Lionel Messi showed just how good he still is with a stunning 1st half-goal and ice-cold penalty kick as he won the Golden Boot & MVP for this Leagues Cup tournament.


            There weren’t many questions on how each time would lineup, especially for Inter Miami. For the entirety of this tournament, Miami has stayed unchanged for the most part. For Nashville, the main question mark heading into Saturday night was how Nashville SC’s manager Gary Smith was going to handle Sam Surridge. Surridge had three goals in three matches all coming off the bench. You want your best players on the pitch and Surridge is certainly one of them but do you fix what has worked thus far? Smith went with Surridge in the starting XI for the first time since his arrival.


Inter Miami got the party started in the 24th minute from who else but Messi. It was a moment of brilliance from the Argentian who gained possession at the top of the box danced past Nashville SC’s Walker Zimmerman and while fading away fires it into the top corner to make it 1-0. Nashville had numbers back and quite frankly did well pushing Messi further and further away from the goal but even when you defend perfectly you can only do so much against the greatest player of all time.


            Nashville SC would head into the locker room at halftime trying to figure out they can climb themselves back into the 1-0 game. Surridge & Hany Mukhtar both weren’t at their vintage selves which made you think would someone else be able to step up and tie the match. One thing Nashville can always rely on are corner kicks & set pieces to give them serious chances against any team they come up against. Which is exactly what happened to Miami. Nashville SC’s corner kick in the 57th minute led to one of the scrappiest goals you will see in the game of soccer. What looked like a game of pinball in the box somehow ended up in the back of the net after Nashville SC’s Fafa Picault would have the final touch. Although both teams had numerous opportunities to score the match-winning goal, penalties were needed to break the deadlock between these two teams after 90+ minutes.


            There aren’t many other words than dramatic to describe the shootout to decide the winner of the Leagues Cup. Only one outfield player from each team missed a penalty after 10 attempts. Which meant both goalkeepers were forced into attempting one each. Inter Miami Drake Callender had no problem blasting his penalty into the roof of the net. Which put all the pressure on Nashville SC’s goalkeeper Elliot Panicco. Panicco had been the hero all tournament long however, his penalty being saved put the Leagues Cup trophy into the hands of Inter Miami.


            For Nashville SC they gave a good account of themselves against an extremely hot team led by the greatest player of all time. It seems like they found themselves offensively and specifically finding the striker they have so coveted since joining Major League Soccer. Although they won’t see the positives now this Leagues Cup run could make all the difference for the 2nd half of MLS league play.


Patton Cook / WNSR Columnist 

Patton_Cook on Twitter 

Nashville SC is awarded a showdown with Lionel Messi after 2-0 win vs Monterrey

On one of the biggest nights in Nashville SC’s young history defeating Monterrey 2-0 after crucial goals from Sam Surridge and Fafa Picault. They now are four days away from certainly playing the biggest match in their history as Lionel Messi and Inter Miami await them in the Leagues Cup Final on Saturday night.


Nashville certainly believed they had done enough to be ahead in the match heading into the locker room but it stayed 0-0. Most of that belief came from a moment of brilliance from Nashville SC’s Hany Mukhtar who curled a shot just inside the post for what looked like the first goal of the match in the 12th minute. That goal was deemed offside because of Nashville SC’s Alex Muyl who in the eyes of the referee was interfering with the goalkeeper’s view of the ball while in an offside position. While Muyl was in an offside position once Mukhtar strikes the ball it was tough from any of the angles given in slo-mo or in real time there was any clear and obvious error (which is the criteria).


            But just how Nashville SC manager will demand from his team they dig in and get the result at any costs necessary. Nashville SC’s Sam Surridge once again gets on the scoresheet for the match-winning goal in the 67th minute. It was fitting that Nashville’s three most important players were integral in this happening, that being Walker Zimmerman, Hany Mukhtar, and new signing Surridge. Zimmerman is the man who won the ball back with a strong aerial dual in the midfield, Mukhtar grabs the assist by playing the perfect ball, and Surridge as east as you’d like passes it into the bottom corner.


            Once the goal went in for Nashville SC with over 20 minutes to go including stoppage time the feeling was that Monterrey were to have plenty of chances to get back into the match and boy did they ever. For what seemed like an eternity for those final 20 minutes Nashville defenders, were defending for their lives looking to keep the clean sheet. Major credit must go to two individuals from that group and that is Zimmerman and Elliot Pannico. For Zimmerman, it was no surprise just how dominant he was by seemingly not allowing a single player past him in any 1v1 scenario. However, it was maybe the biggest performance of Pannico’s life for a player who has yet to make an impact in MLS play he has certainly found his form in this Leagues Cup tournament. To finally relieve the pressure late in stoppage time Nashville SC’s Fafa Picault goes on a second wind type of run getting past two Monteray players and lifting it into the roof of the net securing the 2-0 victory thus advancing them to the Final.


            Saturday night’s match can’t be understated just how massive it will be for the game of soccer in this city. The best player to ever touch a soccer ball playing in a final at Geodis Park. Words I certainly never imagined I would write down but here we are…


Patton Cook / WNSR Columnist 

Patton_Cook on Twitter 

Nashville SC thrashes Minnesota United 5-0 to advance to the Leagues Cup Semi-Finals

After a red card for Minnesota United’s DJ Taylor in the 34th minute, Nashville SC took advantage of the man advantage with a clinical five-goal display. It seemed like so long ago that Nashville struggled to convert chances, but they certainly didn’t have that issue tonight with five different goal-scorers.


            Many expected that new Nashville SC signing Sam Surridge could possibly get the start on Friday night, however, manager Gary Smith elected to go with Teal Bunbury. Considering the form and the public opinion of the two players this was a tad surprising. However, with the final score and the fact both players got on the scoresheet, it’s yet another correct decision made by Smith.


            All the talk after the match of course is going to be about the most single important event which is the Taylor red card for Minnesota in the 34th minute. For one Nashville SC’s Jacob Shaffelburg deserves a lot of credit for the quick decisive run which forced Taylor to make the decision to either pull down Shaffelburg or give him a free run directly at goal. The contact wasn’t flagrant but the letter of the law for a red card involves denying a clear goal-scoring opportunity and that is certainly what occurred. Once this happened Phil Neville the former Inter Miami manager said on the broadcast how important the next 10 minutes would be for Minnesota to not concede a goal before the halftime break. If Minnesota could withstand the pressure till halftime, it would have put a lot of pressure on Nashville to get the goal before the 90 minutes was up that would lead to penalties. Of course, Nashville goes on and gets the important goal just before the break which broke the game wide open for the remaining four goals in the second half. 


After Friday night’s win they will host Liga MX side Monterey on Tuesday night for a chance to advance to the Final. After each win for Nashville and Inter Miami, the looming possibility of Lionel Messi playing at Geodis Park gains large. I’d be lying if I wasn’t looking ahead at that potential matchup and I wouldn’t be surprised if the players for Nashville SC aren’t either.



Patton Cook / WNSR Columnist 

Patton_Cook on Twitter 



Nashville SC advances to the Leagues Cup Quarterfinals in dramatic fashion vs Club America

In a match that had it all, terrific atmosphere, late second-half goals, VAR, penalty kicks and so much more Nashville SC defeated Club America 6-5 via penalty kicks. On two separate occasions, Nashville looked down and out for the count, once in stoppage time when Club America’s Julian Quinones converted his penalty kick and after Jack Maher’s penalty was saved, only to have it retaken and scored after a VAR check.


There were many questions for Nashville SC’s manager, Gary Smith, and how he would set up after his vintage setup and execution against Cincinnati. He said before the match that he wanted to find the happy medium between his team's style of play versus Cincinnati and Toluca. With Toluca, his team was far too open at the back, but against Cincinnati, they were too defensive. Looking at the result and the fact that Nashville SC advances you’d have to say he got it right tactically. The other big question was in regards to what capacity would the new signing for Nashville SC, Sam Surridge, play in this match. Surridge ended up coming off of the bench and having a dream start to his Nashville SC career.



The first half was a stalemate that didn’t see much action, however, the second half and penalty kicks would make up for it 100x over. Nashville SC’s Walker Zimmerman would get the party started in the 61st minute after his header from a corner kick flew into the back of the net to make it 1-0. Zimmerman had a very cool celebration to signify the arrival of his baby girl who is expected to be born in the coming days. Due to this, it was unknown whether or not Zimmerman would even play tonight. After this, it seemingly looked like it was going to be another masterclass from Gary Smith whose plan seemed to be right on track. However, Club America wasn’t going to go down that easy after a substitute for Club America, Diego Valdes, came on to tie the game 1-1 in the 78th minute. The real drama would start ramping up when a lengthy VAR check went underway at the beginning of stoppage time to look at a possible handball in the box against Nashville SC’s Lukas McNaughton. As time went on and each replay saw the ball clearly strike the hand of McNaughton, it became more likely the call would be reversed, and that is exactly what happened. This would allow Quinones to score his penalty kick in the 94th minute which if you think would be enough to put away Nashville, think again. In the final attack of stoppage time Nashville SC’s Dax McCarty plays a 45-yard pass to Hany Mukhtar who then plays the inch-perfect cross to Nashville’s new striker who heads it home and ties the match at 2-2 which sends the match to penalties.


Smith once again went with Nashville SC’s Elliot Pannico to be the goalkeeper instead of Joe Willis, a move that worked out last time out against Cincy. The biggest moment of the match was when in the midst of Club America’s celebration thinking they had won the match via penalty kicks, yet another VAR check stopped them in their tracks. This time looking at whether or not America’s game-winning penalty save was illegal due to the goalkeeper not staying on the line. The correct call was made giving Maher another try which he buried. After this, you just knew with the momentum that Nashville was going to find a way to grab the victory, and Daniel Lovitz’s penalty did just that.



Patton Cook / WNSR Columnist 

Patton_Cook on Twitter 

After a seven goal thriller Nashville SC falls to Toluca 4-3

In what was effectively the match that would decide the group winner in the Leagues Cup, Nashville SC’s defensive backline let down their attackers after a 4-3 loss to Toluca. Normally when a Gary Smith led team scores three goals, the odds of them losing the match are slim to none. Thursday night was not one of those nights.

Nashville SC's approach to starting Thursday night’s match against Toluca was to bring all the attacking threats from the jump. Nashville SC’s Manager, Gary Smith, started Fafa Picault, Jacob Shaffelburg, and of course, Hany Mukhtar from the start. This gave Nashville a very attack-minded approach to the match, but also left them with not much threat coming off the bench other than a struggling Teal Bunbury. This was almost the complete opposite approach to how Smith handled the match against Colorado on Sunday night.

The first half on a warm night definitely had plenty of fireworks. A five-goal half between the two teams and there  easily could have been more. Nashville SC’s Walker Zimmerman set the pace in the third minute when the first corner of the match broke free from his man and he glanced a beautiful header into the back of the net. Toluca would go on to tie the match in the 27th minute with Toluca’s Marcel Ruiz's first of two goals in the game. Nashville SC’s Fafa Picault would get what he thought to be a crucial goal right before the half after a fantastic run behind Toluca’s backline. The trend for chaotic defending would not change when Toluca would once again tie the match courtesy of another Ruiz goal. To top it all off, the LIGA MX side would be gifted a penalty after Alex Muyl was called for a handball inside the box and none other than Toluca’s goalkeeper Tiago Volpi would blast home the penalty kick. After all that, Toluca had a 3-2 lead heading into the break.


            All the pressure was certainly on Nashville SC heading into the break, and it certainly didn’t start how they planned. After more brilliant attacking plays off of Toluca’s left flank, Robert Morales finds a patch of space inside the box to slot home the goal that made it 4-2 in the 67th minute. The night wouldn’t end there at least for the home side as substitute Josh Buaer would score Nashville’s third goal which put slight pressure on Toluca to see the match out on top. Bauer’s goal pushed Nashville’s goal differential to zero which depending on how Toluca’s match against Colorado goes on Monday night it could be just enough to push Nashville through to the group stages.

Even though the disappointing result on the field a positive for Nashville SC fans was the unveiling of Nashville’s third designated player, Sam Surridge. After a night that saw Teal Bunbury get sent off after offering very little offensively, it is clear just how badly Nashville needs a striker. Bunbury has certainly had his positive moments for Nashville but those days look to be over. Surridge a player that comes from Nottingham Forest in England will have a lot of pressure on his shoulders to contribute early. However, the 24-year-old certainly is aware and ready for the challenge. No word on when he will officially be able to play for NSC because of a Visa issue but his debut doesn’t seem too far away.


Patton Cook / WNSR Columnist 

Patton_Cook on Twitter 


Hany Mukhtar's second-half heroics gave Nashville SC a 2-1 victory

In their first-ever Leagues Cup, Nashville defeated the Colorado Rapids 2-1 after some second-half subs proved to be the difference. Nashville SC started their inaugural Leagues Cup match on Sunday Night. With how the last few games ended for Nashville SC, Manager Gary Smith had some choices to make on how seriously he wanted to take this new midseason tournament. He had two options: give his players much-needed rest as they were starting to wear down before the all-star break, or play his players back into form in an attempt to get out of the scoring slump they were in. Smith managed to use both strategies, by giving Nashville SC’s Walker Zimmerman & Hany Mukhtar slight rest by not starting them, but also by giving players like Teal Bunbury, Randall Leal, and Jacob Shaffelburg starts to try and re-find their form.


The first half didn’t offer much when it came to notable moments, but it has to be said that Colorado was the team who seemed to be the most threatening. However, there was nothing to show for it on the scoresheet. Once the second half started, it didn’t take long for Smith to bring on his star man, Mukhtar. In literally his second touch, Mukhtar got a goal after a beautiful give-and-go between Dax McCarty and himself. He then went on to give the perfect assist to Jacob Shaffelburg only a few minutes later. It was a nice bit of skill on the right wing and his pass gave Shaffelburg no choice other than to score. Colorado pulled one back in the 80th min for a bit of a consolation goal by Andrew Gutman.

            Sunday night’s performance by Mukhtar was needed on many levels both personally and for Nashville SC. Mukhtar of course expects a lot of himself in front of the goal and for the first time this season, he hit a scoring drought. For him to regain some confidence in front of the net amid all the rumors of a bid coming in for him from a team in Qatar was just what the doctor ordered. For Nashville SC, it was important to see Mukhtar regain his form because this season has been so heavily reliant on his goal contributions. It has shown that when Mukhtar struggles, Nashville SC does too.


Nashville SC will be back in action at Geodis Park on Thursday night as they welcome Liga MX side Toluca.         


Patton Cook / WNSR Columnist 

@Patton_Cook on Twitter 

Philadelphia Union stuns Nashville SC 2-0 after a fiery affair

Nashville SC’s eight-league match unbeaten run at home ended on Wednesday night after Philadelphia Union defeated Nashville SC with two penalty kicks. The game didn’t lack any passion after Nashville SC saw both of their fullbacks sent off.


Nashville SC & Philadelphia Union both put an extreme emphasis on just how aggressive they wanted to be in the first half. Nashville had a couple of big chances courtesy of Lukas McNaughton and Teal Bunbury but were ultimately unable to break the deadlock. It was the away side who were finally able to draw first blood, and that was from a penalty kick. Daniel Lovitz was called for a foul inside the box after he two-hand pushed one of Philly’s players inside the box.


There was already some real pressure heading into Wednesday night’s match for a few reasons. First, Nashville SC was coming off of a loss against Chicago on the road last weekend as they are desperately trying to catch Cincinnati in the standings, and the second is regarding the rumors of Hany Mukhtar being wanted by clubs in Spain and Saudi Arabia. However, with Nashville a goal down heading into the second half, there was even more pressure to perform in front of the home fans.


The effort was certainly there for Nashville SC in that second half based on the number of chances. This situation was very similar to the last match against Chicago where Nashville had nearly 20 shots total, but couldn't find the back of the net. There was even some drama in the second half after what looked like a stonewall penalty shout for Nashville SC was overturned on the field. Two weeks in a row, Nashville SC Manager, Gary Smith, will feel his team has been done wrong by VAR. To make matters worse Nashville would go on to give yet another penalty away, and it was once again against Daniel Lovitz who was shown a second yellow giving Philadelphia a 2-0 lead late in the match. To really top off the disaster of a night, Nashville SC’s Shaq Moore would get into an altercation late into added time and see a straight red card. This now puts Nashville without both fullbacks against the best team in MLS, FC Cincinnati.


Wednesday night’s loss certainly won’t quiet the concerns about where this team is headed going into Cincinnati on Saturday night. As the losses start to mount you just wonder how aggressive Nashville will be in the upcoming transfer window.


Patton Cook / WNSR Columnist 

@Patton_Cook on Twitter 






Nashville SC achieved much needed revenge against DC United

Nashville SC’s Randall Leal on Saturday night proved to be the difference versus DC United after two first half goals from the Costa Rican international. Saturday night’s 2-0 home win for Nashville SC was the eighth straight win at Geodis Park. A win that proved to be much needed after two straight losses on the road.


            Before Saturday night’s match Nashville SC’s manager Gary Smith had a few more players to pick from when selecting the Starting XI. Two players specifically were back in contention after returning from injury, that of course is Nashville SC’s Teal Bunbury and Alex Muyl. Two players when fit are almost nailed on to start week in week out for Smith. Bunbury has proved to be a big miss when he misses a match and the player it affects the most is Nashville SC’s Hany Mukhtar who is happy to have his striker back.


            The first 45 minutes of play contained the only scoring for the entirety of the match and Nashville SC was just ok with that. It only took the home side two minutes to find the back of the net even though it turned out to be offside, however it was a warning shot of what was coming. One of the benefits of Bunbury being back in the action for Nashville SC is that it allowed Mukhtar to play a little deeper which is how the first goal came for Nashville SC. Mukhtar in the 18th min picked the ball up in his own half and saw Leal making a run behind the backline and Mukhtar played a pin point pass which gave Leal a 1v1 with the goalkeeper. Of course, a player with the skill and composure like Leal he buried the chance. Those two players in prior seasons had really put together quite the one two punch and for the first time this season you finally got to see the magic both players could create. The final goal came oddly enough from Mukhtar once again being closer to the halfway line although this time he won’t be getting the assist. Mukhtar almost plays a hit and hope type ball that somehow bounces around and finds Leal inside the box with a lot to do if he wants to find the back of the net. Leal manages to get off one of the sweetest strikes you will see as he puts his laces through it on the right side of the box and beats DC United’s Goalkeeper Tyler Miller who recently got selected in the All-Star game ahead of Joe Willis.


            It is crazy to think about just how dominant Nashville SC has been at home compared to last season. With Saturday night’s win they have now won more games in their first 10 home games (7) than they did all of last season (6). Their strong home form has given them the luxury of not having to go on the road and almost make it seem like a must win game. Even with the two straight losses on the road and with Saturday night’s win they still remain in second place in the Eastern Conference.



Patton Cook / WNSR Nashville SC Columnist

@Patton_Cook on Twitter



Welcome to Major League Soccer St. Louis City SC, signed Hany Mukhtar

Nashville SC in a night that needed their star man to step against the best the Western Conference has to offer, Hany Mukhtar did just that with a hat-trick that gave Nashville a 3-1 victory on Saturday night.


Saturday night’s match was always going to be challenging for Nashville SC when their club captain, Walker Zimmerman, was down in Las Vegas with the USMNT. However, Nashville SC’s Lukas McNaughton was also deemed unavailable. He is nursing an injury he sustained against his former team Toronto FC. MLS journeyman Josh Bauer got the start instead, and to his credit considering the circumstances, he did well.


The first half started slow between St. Louis and Nashville, but it certainly was action and drama filled. Nashville SC’s, Hany Mukhtar, added to his goal involvement tally, a stat that he leads the MLS in by scoring his 11th goal of the year. Mukhtar, like he’s done so many times against teams, found little pockets of space inside the box and when the ball fell to him, there was little doubt if he had the poise to rifle it into the back of the net. However, the home side’s lead was short lived when in the 41st minute St. Louis City’s, Nicholas Gioachini, bundled the ball in the back of the net with what seemed like his elbow. The goal was initially called for offside, but after a long VAR check it was deemed a good goal.


The night ended like how many would have figured because of his form, and that’s Hany Mukhtar on top. Mukhtar would not only convert his second goal of the match via a penalty kick, but he’d put the cherry on top by getting his 4th Hat-Trick since joining Nashville SC. Really what makes Mukhtar so special is that for large parts of this game, he was pretty quiet. The three times he had the chance to punish St. Louis, he did just that. After his three-goal performance tonight, this would mark his 97th appearance and his 56th goal for the club. These are numbers that you do not see from many other players in MLS history.


Nashville will look to defend their 10-match unbeaten streak against CF Montreal on Wednesday as they travel up north.


Patton Cook / WNSR Nashville SC Columnist 

Patton_Cook on Twitter 




A game truly of two halves sees Nashville SC defeat the Columbus Crew 3-1

After a sluggish first half, Nashville SC turned up the intensity and had a three goal second half. Two out of the three goals came from corners which continued to add to the impressive resumé Nashville has when it comes to scoring from setpieces. Hany Mukhtar added yet another goal and assist to his tally tonight which makes him league leading in combined goals and assists.


            The night certainly didn’t start how Nashville SC Manager, Gary Smith, would have liked with a second minute goal from Columbus Crew’s Yaw Yeboah. Although being scored on in the early stages of a match doesn’t happen very often, teams are very susceptible to conceding early chances and Nashville was punished by Columbus’ early chance. When Smith looks back at the film, he will not like the urgency of some of his defenders not stepping to Yeboah and making the shot a bit harder than what it turned out to be. Make no mistake, Yeboah’s goal was not easy by any means he still had a to do quite the spectacular to beat Joe Willis who has only been scored on 10 times which is tied for league best.


            Nashville SC went into the locker room after the first 45 minutes down 1-0 at home, which this season had never happened. They have of course lost at home (FC Cincinatti back in March), but it was uncharted territory for Nashville SC and they responded. In the 57th min off of a corner Nashville’s Fafa Picault of all people found himself with a great opportunity inside the box to tie the game at one a piece and with the slightest of touches he did just that. The main reason the goal came in my opinion was the fact that Columbus Crew’s goalkeeper Patrick Schulte ended up in the back of his own net and had zero chance of stopping any shot that ended up on target.

            Nashville SC wasn’t done in the second half as they would score the all-important goal that put them ahead of the Columbus Crew, which came from yet another corner. This time Daniel Lovitz swung in a cross and Nashville’s Teal Bunbury rose in the air and headed the ball straight down past Schulte the goalkeeper. Frankly it was a goal that Nashville SC deserved as for the entirety of the second 45 minutes the home side dominated. The credit for me has to go to Smith who made the changes that brought on Randall Leal & Jacob Shaffelburg. Those two changes just seemed to bring that spark that Nashville needed to take the lead and complete the comeback. To put the final nail in the coffin for Nashville SC, Hany Mukhtar got himself on the score sheet after an MVP type run in the final seconds of the match. Mukhtar who collected the ball in the corner of the box put on a couple of moves and froze the Columbus defender just long enough so he could smash the ball into the roof of the net to make it 3-1.


            Nashville will ring in the month of June with two road trips to FC Dallas next weekend and then follow it up going up North as they will square off against Toronto FC on June 10th. A possible reunion for the ex-Nashville SC striker CJ Sapong who was traded at the deadline for now Nashville SC defender Lukas MacNaughton.


Patton Cook / WNSR Nashville SC Columnist 




Nashville SC continues their red hot form with a 2-1 win against Inter Miami

Nashville SC scored one goal a piece in each half in a complete performance that every player on the field Wednesday night will be proud of. Centre-Back for Nashville SC, Lukas MacNaughton, scored the winning goal after a late mistake from Nashville SC’s goalkeeper, Joe Willis, who gave Inter Miami a consolation goal in stoppage time.


Team news for Wednesday night’s match against Inter Miami CF had some notable headlines. For starters, Nashville’s captain and star defender, Walker Zimmerman, remained out for the third straight match due to injury. However, it wasn’t all doom and gloom as they received reinforcements that included Randall Leal in the matchday squad in league play for the first time since late February and Sean Davis who was thrusted back into the starting lineup after missing four matches. Inter Miami also rotated a bit during this midweek match as they placed two MLS stars, Josef Martinez (leading the team in goals with three), and USMNT veteran, DeAndre Yedlin, both on the substitutes bench.


The first half, although they only had one goal to show for it, was completely dominated by Nashville SC. After the end of the first half, Nashville held just over 65% of the possession and didn't allow Inter Miami to get a single shot in the entirety of the first 45 minutes. The goal came from two players that played lots of minutes with each other, that being Nashville’s Anibal Gudoy and Hany Mukhtar. Gudoy lobbed a brilliant ball over the Miami backline after Mukhtar times it to perfection, but Mukhtar still had loads to do once he chested the ball down. With a defender on his hip, he lost him with just a drop of a shoulder and squared the ball to Nashville’s Fafa Picault who tapped it home for his 3rd goal of the season and Mukhtar collected his sixth assist of the year.


I was quite surprised with how Inter Miami started the match and even more surprised with how they started the second half. Before fans even got back into their seats from getting popcorn at Geodis Park, Nashville had another major chance in the 49th minute and they made Miami pay for it. After an initial cross was headed clear, Nashville’s Shaq Moore swung in a cross and it was the newly acquired defender for Nashville SC, Lukas MacNaughton, who headed home his first Nashville SC goal. All the game planning and tactics made by Inter Miami’s Head Coach, Phil Neville, was thrown out the window. Miami would go onto score a late goal with the last kick of the game in stoppage time after a mistake from Joe Willis. Although no clean sheet tonight for Nashville SC, it was only their eighth goal conceded which is tied for best in the league.


With all the attacking success recently, what has to be applauded is that even though Nashville SC has been without Zimmerman for a third straight match, they don’t look any less secure at the back. That reason starts with the goal scorer, MacNaughton, who has replaced Zimmerman since his injury. For a player like Zimmerman, who five months ago was starting in the World Cup for the United States, this says a lot about the performance of MacNaughton to this point.


Written by: Patton Cook / Nashville SC Columnist 


Nashville SC's depth propels them to the Round of 16 in the US Open Cup

Nashville SC did what was needed to advance in the US Open Cup after goals from Fafa Picault & Alex Muyl in the second half for a 2-0 win against FC Dallas. Wednesday night’s win was executed in true Nashville SC manager, Gary Smith fashion. His style being to provide very few chances to the opposition and when his side is given the opportunity to threaten, they take full advantage.


 With Wednesday night's game being the fourth game within two weeks, and with another game on the horizon in less than three days, Smith was always going to have to rotate a portion of the side. The question was who of his traditional “Starting XI” would he risk? The answer to that was not many at all. Smith would only ending up going with one player that has gotten consistent minutes for him over the past few weeks, and that was the goal scorer, Fafa Picault. There were however a few names that could possibly return to the starting XI in the near future who have recently returned from injury: Nashville’s Randall Leal and Sean Davis. It was nice to see Leal return to the lineup for Nashville after being seen go off injured after the season opener back in late February. For Sean, he had been out injured for a few matches now, but got much needed match fitness Wednesday night against Dallas. Nashville SC’s Hany Mukhtar would make the matchday squad against FC Dallas, but was only to be used in the scenario of Nashville needing a goal late. With his team up 2-0 late in the second half, his services were not required.


 FC Dallas would go with a slightly different approach in terms of the lineup as they went strong from the beginning hoping to find that first goal early, but it ultimately never came in the entirety of the 90 min. FC Dallas’ Jesus Ferreira, who in different spurts has been the USMNT starting striker, got the start tonight and it must be said Nashville’s centre-backs Lukas MacNaughton & Josh Bauer did a tremendous job not allowing Ferreira to get a single shot on target in the entire match.


 Nashville didn’t control the bulk of the possession like they did this past Saturday against Chicago. However, very similarly to the game from the weekend it never did feel like Dallas was going to get one goal much less two after Alex Muyl’s thunder strike that doubled Nashville’s lead. It seems as though the defensive side of the game that let Nashville down numerous times last season with just silly errors have been corrected by Smith and the coaching staff


 With the win against FC Dallas, Nashville SC will look forward to the Round of 16 draw that will take place Thurday, May 10th at 2 PM. As things stand only one non-MLS team remains in the Round of 16 (Birmingham).


Patton Cook / WNSR - Nashville SC Columnist 



MVP candidate Hany Mukhtar puts on a show as his three goals defeat the Chicago Fire 3-0

Nashville’s Hany Mukhtar scored his third hat-trick in NSC colors as Nashville went on to win 3-0 against the Chicago Fire. Nashville SC dominated this game from start to finish as they continued their hot streak of matches in the months of April and May.


Nashville goalkeeper, Joe Willis, collects his league-tying sixth clean sheet of the season. Tonight he can thank the defenders in front of him as he was only faced with five shots compared to Nashville’s 30.


Head Coach, Gary Smith, made a few changes to Saturday night’s lineup, which headlined centre-back, Walker Zimmerman, being completely absent from the lineup. This decision was probably made a bit easier now that Nashville has traded for Canadian centre-back, Lukas MacNaughton. MacNaugton made his debut since being traded by Toronto FC which saw former Nashville SC striker, CJ Sapong, going up north. Smith revealed after the match that Zimmerman experienced some soreness after training on Friday and wasn’t able to play tonight. I don’t expect Zimmerman to be featured Wednesday night either which would give the captain much-needed rest after the busy month of April which featured some USMNT caps as well as starts for the “Boys in Gold”.


Nashville SC started the game in the first half with much control and domination which hasn’t been unfamiliar in the six-match unbeaten run that they were on coming into the match. Nashville controlled the match by having nearly 60% of the possession.


It wasn’t a question of if that big chance was coming for Nashville, but rather when. That chance came in the 45th min after Dax McCarty was shoved in the back inside the box and drew the penalty. After that, everyone in the stadium knew who was getting the ball, and that was Hany Mukhtar who received the captain's armband for the second time in his NSC career. Mukhtar stepped up and rifled home his fourth goal of the season.


You obviously never want to give goals up in this league, but giving one up and quite cheaply like Chicago did can completely change the complexion of the game, and spoiler: that’s exactly what happened.


Nashville came out of the second half like they got the halftime speech of a lifetime from Smith. With numerous chances to double their lead, it looked like they just weren’t going to be able to put the final touches on this match.


That was until Jacob Shaffelburg who got his first start in nearly a month showed one of the better bursts of pace you are going to see. Shaffelburg picked the ball up about 20 yards before he got into Chicago’s side of the pitch and sprinted with the ball about 50-60 yards before he was taken down by Chicago defender, Kendall Burks. This granted Mukhtar the opportunity to grab his brace and get his 10th goal involvement (five goals and five assists), which he calmly did.


 Although Mukhtar was causing problems for Chicago all night long, to me it seemed the most effective when he was moved up front after Teal Bunbury was subbed off. This is something Smith has started doing towards the end of games when counter-attacks seem to be more prevalent. This allows Mukhtar to go up against centre-backs who a lot of times are on an island. The centre-backs in Major League Soccer aren’t sure whether to defend Mukhtar by getting close or by backing off, and you see it week in and week out. That is of course when Hany grabbed his third and final goal after an initial shot from Nashville’s Fafa Picault, the ball fell right into the path of Nashville’s star player who knocked it home to seal all three points.


With the 3-0 win tonight, Nashville SC extended their unbeaten run to seven and continues to keep up pace with the leaders in the Eastern Conference as they are now at 21 pts (New England and Cincinnati both on 24).


Nashville SC has two games this week, one being at home against FC Dallas on Wednesday in the US Open Cup, and then go on the road for the first time in five matches as they take on DC United.



Patton Cook / WNSR Nashville SC reporter

Patton_Cook on Twitter




Nashville SC dominates Atlanta United 3-1 in best performance of the season

Atlanta United got to experience Saturday afternoon just how much of an influence Hany Mukhtar has been for Nashville SC.

    In Nashville’s 3-1 home win against Atlanta at Geodis Park, Hany Mukhtar only came away with two assists, but he was fundamental in all three goals. After his two assists Saturday, he is now at three goals and five assist, which is the best start to any season of his career.

    Nashville SC coach Gary Smith started the match with an unchanged lineup from last weekend’s match versus LAFC, which is understandable after holding the MLS defending champion to a 1-1 draw.

It does bring up the question about where Sean Davis has been the last two games after starting eight straight matches. Smith provided an update on the midfielder after the match saying, “He’s had a slight hamstring problem and has a chance to be with the group for Chicago.”

Like Nashville, Atlanta is also missing some key pieces without veteran goalkeeper, Brad Guzan for a few weeks and is now on their third string goalkeeper, Clement Diop. Atlanta United was also without striker Georgios Giakoumakis, and were forced to start Machop Chol, who started his first MLS match in a position he’s never started in his professional career.

            Nashville did what it does best for the majority of the first 45 minutes, and that is to frustrate the opposition when it comes to big chances. For instance, the first and only shot on target in the first half came in the 25th minute from a tame long shot from Atlanta’s midfielder Matheus Rossetto. Nashville SC didn’t have an abundance of big chances, either, but punished its rivals when getting the chance. The first goal came from two of Nashville’s star players, Mukhtar and Walker Zimmerman. Mukhtar swings one in the cross from only the second corner of the game, while Zimmerman flicks it into a dangerous area for Fafa Picault to get the easiest goal of his career.

            The message coming out of the dressing room from Smith was to strike first. Last week, he felt LAFC landed that first strike of the second half and that was the difference between all three points. Nashville did exactly that and it came from Mukhtar who made a brilliant run on the left cutting in and out and firing a low shot which Clement Diop got down to his left well, but the ball spilled out for Nashville’s striker Teal Bunbury.

    However, Atlanta would ultimately respond after winning a penalty from a clumsy challenge from Dax McCarty. Atlanta’s star player, Thiago Almada, who featured for Argentina in the World Cup, scored Atlanta’s lone goal of the match. This made the last 20 minutes stressful for the fans attending at Geodis Park. Jacob Shaffelburg eliminated all fears with a brilliant injection of pace after Mukhtar plays him in and calmly slots it past Diop.

     Nashville will continue the long homestand Saturday, May 7, as the Chicago Fire visit Geodis Park.



Patton Cook / WNSR - Nashville SC Reporter




Nashville SC scrapes by San Antonio FC in the US Open Cup

Nashville SC opened up their US Open Cup campaign against no easy opponent, and as Gary Smith expected, it turned into quite the battle. The game was deadlocked for 71 of the 90 minutes until San Antonio defender, Shannon Gomez, got his pocket picked by Nashville attacker, Fafa Picault, who squared it across to Ethan Zubak who scored the match-winner. In a season for Nashville that has included their fair share of unlucky breaks, they created some luck via that forced turnover by Fafa Picault.


            As you would expect for a team that was playing its second game in 72 hours, rotation was needed for “The Boys in Gold”. Wednesday’s starting XI only included two players (Alex Muyl & Jack Maher) from Saturday night’s draw against LAFC. With all the changes, chemistry on the field was seemingly an issue. For a team that already struggles in the attacking half, having very little attacking chemistry tonight proved difficult as they only forced two shots on goal. However, Gary Smith won’t mind at all as his side advances to the Round of 32.


            It must be said for Nashville that with the changes they had, their major contributors got some much-needed rest tonight. Nashville’s seasoned veterans, Hany Mukhtar, Dax McCarty, Walker Zimmerman (who may not have dressed anyway as he is in serious doubt for Saturday’s match with a groin injury), and Joe Willis all did not dress. With these important players not even making the bench tonight, Nashville still coming away with a victory in regulation is something the team will be more than happy with. If Nashville wants to go far in the US Open Cup, they will have to repeat what they did tonight by continuing to use their squad depth. As for their Eastern Conference rival Atlanta United, they conceded a stoppage-time penalty and eventually lost against Memphis 901 who has only won one game in their young season in the USL. All that to say, although it wasn’t flashy and a 10/10 type performance, the name of the game in these knockout games is simply survive and advance.


            Nashville will finish their three games in seven days this Saturday afternoon when they welcome Atlanta United to Geodis Park.



Patton Cook / WNSR Nashville SC Reporter 


Nashville SC collects a valuable point against unbeaten LAFC

Nashville SC faced off against one of the best teams MLS has to offer, LAFC, and showed they have what it takes to go toe to toe with the top teams in Major League Soccer. The two teams shared a point after quite an entertaining game which had Hany Mukhtar scoring his third goal of the season in the first half and Denis Bouanga for LAFC grabbing the game tying goal in the second.


The first half can really be split up into three different spells. For the around the first 20 minutes, Nashville SC had the majority of the possession, but nothing concrete in terms of chances. The next 10 minutes saw LAFC really finding their groove in the game with a high press that seemed to overwhelm Nashville. In the last 10 minutes of the first half, Nashville really kicked it into gear and was solely led by their starman, Hany Mukhtar. The ball somehow found Mukhtar after it deflected into his path right at the six yard box and he slotted it home.


The big question heading into the second 45 was how was Gary Smith’s side going to setup. They set up knowing that if they wanted to win the game, one goal was not going to be enough, and it certainly wasn’t. They seemed more open at the back compared to the first half due in large part to Nashville’s star studded defender, Walker Zimmerman, being subbed in the 55th min. This situation will definitely be closely monitored as Gary Smith mentioned after the match that Zimmerman felt a bit of discomfort in the locker room at the halftime break. Knowing Zimmerman played 90 minutes less than 72 hours before for the USMNT, this isn’t the most shocking injury. LA finally found the back of the net thanks to their striker Denis Bouanga as he rifled one home from outside the 18 yard box. It seemed after that goal and the substitution of Walker Zimmerman, Nashville was more than happy to grind out a draw against LA.


Nashville will be back in action and at home twice over the next seven days as they take on San Antonio FC on Wednesday in the US Open Cup and their rival Atlanta United at home on Saturday.



Patton Cook / WNSR Nashville SC Reporter 

Twitter: Patton_Cook

Nashville SC held scoreless against Toronto FC after a 0-0 draw

Nashville and Toronto spent 90+ plus minutes looking for an all important goal that more than likely would’ve been enough, however, that goal never came. Although the game didn’t have a ton of opportunities, it gave Joe Willis his 5th cleansheet of the season.


          Nashville had an unchanged lineup as you would expect coming of a nice 2-0 win against Orlando last week. The lineup featured Gudoy and Davis in midfield for Gary Smith’s side as well as an attacking duo featuring Hany Mukthar alongside CJ Sapong that never could get firing like they did against Orlando. Hany had two shots that forced saves out of Toronto and US Men’s National team goalkeeper Sean Johnson. Nothing that would be seen as a “big chance,” but rather a few half chances for Nashville’s star man.


          The positive storyline coming out of this game without a doubt was the fan voted man of the match, Joe Willis. Willis who only had to make 3 saves in the game, one that included a big 1v1 save in the 73rd minute. Joe Willis has had a fantastic start to season and leads the league in goals conceded and save percentage at 92.3%. Thanks in large part to Willis in goal, Nashville currently sits fifth in the Eastern Conference,


          The negative storyline coming out of course is going to be the lack of goals once again for Gary Smith’s side. Unlike the last home match, Gary Smith’s side didn’t control much of the possession, only getting 40% throughout the entire match. Nashville currently sits on 6 goals scored after 7 games which is in the bottom half among the other MLS teams.


The next match for The Boys in Gold has them going to the Big Apple to play New York City FC. A venue that is unlike many in the world where the game will be played at Citi Field Stadium which is of course the home of the New York Mets. Nashville kicked the season off beating New York FC 2-0 back in February.




Written by: Patton Cook / WNSR Nashville SC Reporter 

Twitter: @Patton_Cook 

Nashville SC's attacking threat comes up short again

FC Cincinnati came into Geodis Park looking for their first ever win against Nashville SC in the MLS and did so courtesy of a 48th minute goal from attacker Brandon Vazquez.  His 1st goal of the season proved to be enough against the lackluster Nashville SC attack. 


As far as the 1st half went, Nashville just edged out having the majority of possesion, controlling the ball nearly 55% of the time. However, arguably the best chance of the half goes to FC Cincinatti with Brenner going through 1 on 1 in the 12th minute. This chance was halted by Nashville’s goalkeeper, Joe Willis, who was quick off of his line to deny the Brazilian. Chances for Nashville mainly came from their star man, Hany Mukhtar, which comes to no surprise. He was dangerous in the middle of the field, but also had some fantastic set-pieces as well. For Cincinnati, it was not quantity of their possession, but rather the quality of their play with quick one two’s cutting through Nashville’s midfield and defense. 


Cincy came out strong to start the 2nd half with numerous chances to trouble Joe Willis. One of these troubles included the 48th minute rebound goal from Brandon Vazquez who took advantage of Nashville’s Shaq Moore being caught of out position. In an attempt to bring a spark to the midfield after the goal, Nashville subbed Dax McCarty off for Anibal Godoy in the 61st minute. McCarty who received his 399th start in the MLS was visibly not pleased with the decision to be taken off. 


Nashville’s only serious chance came from a penalty shout in the 71st minute when Hany Mukhtar was bundled over after he got goal side of the defender. From the eyes of the referee, he didn’t see enough to give Nashville the penalty. Cincinnati seemed to be able to slow the entire second half down to where Nashville could never find an attacking momentum. NSC had most of the possesion, but when it came time for that line-breaking pass, the Boys in Gold couldn’t supply it.


Nashville after losing their second scoreless game will head down to Orlando City next Saturday to face the team that crushed their US Open Cup dreams last June when the match was forced to penalty kicks. Cincinnati will be back at home next Saturday as Inter Miami comes to town with their star studded lineup. 



Written by: Patton Cook / WNSR Nashville SC Reporter

Twitter: @Patton_Cook


Which Nashville Sports Org is your Favorite?
Add a Comment
(Fields are Optional)

Your email address is never published.

WNSR Broadcast Calendar


  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30        

Nashville Weather