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Nashville SC game reports Archives for 2023-04

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 

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