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