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