Five players to watch: Nashville SC vs Orlando City

Fresh off a 1-0 win over Inter Miami, Nashville SC are back at Nissan Stadium to take on Orlando City. They lost 3-1 last time out against the Lions. Will the Boys in Gold be up for it tonight? Here are the players to watch.

Alex Muyl

The winger got his first start in gold since joining the team from New York Red Bulls. He had a strong showing against Miami, combining well in the final third and having a goal disallowed by VAR. It was an encouraging debut for a player who’s been hailed as a “defensive winger”, and could bode well for an attacking group that has looked starved for creativity in the final third. The early signs are encouraging – can he keep it up?

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Photo by Casey Gower / Broadway Sports

Alistair Johnston

The rookie keeps impressing. After strong showings in midfield, he got his first start at right back, and fit in well, buzzing up and down the flank to put out fires and provide an outlet in possession. It’s fair to say he’s exceeded expectations already, and with right back an issue for the club early in the season, Johnston really seems like he could be the solution. If he can help shut down an Orlando side that scored three goals against Nashville last time, it will go a long way towards solidifying his place in the starting XI.

Brian Anunga

The young midfielder got his first taste of MLS action over the weekend, filling in for the rested Dax McCarty and fitting in well in a midfield that has been a real strength for Nashville this season. Anunga is young and inexperienced. But he showed the positional and tactical intelligence, as well as the passing range, to be a more consistent option in midfield. If Gary Smith decides to rest Aníbal Godoy, Anunga seems a likely option to replace him.

Daniel Lovitz

The left back has played every minute for Nashville so far, and has been one of the better performers on the team. His overlapping runs and set piece delivery have been a big part of Nashville’s attacking production. However, Lovitz is on four yellow cards for the season. One more would mean a single match suspension. Does Smith risk losing him against Miami? Does he give him the start anyway? It’s an interesting question for Nashville. With Taylor Washington the likely replacement, it will be interesting to see if Lovitz gets the start.

Photo by Casey Gower / Broadway Sports

Daniel Ríos

Ríos got his second MLS start last time out against Orlando, drawing praise from Gary Smith for his link-up play. It’s evident thus far that Ríos is Nashville’s best passer at the position, and although he hasn’t found the net yet, he has come close a couple times. In recent matches, Smith has rotated between Badji and Ríos, and after a strong showing against Orlando, Ríos could be up for another shot.

Who are you excited to watch? Let us know in the comments.

Author: Ben Wrightis the Director of Soccer Content and a Senior MLS Contributor for Broadway Sports covering Nashville SC and the US National Team. Previously Ben was the editor and a founder of Speedway Soccer, where he has covered Nashville SC and their time in USL before journeying to Major League Soccer since 2018. Raised in Louisville, KY Ben grew up playing before a knee injury ended his competitive career. When he is not talking soccer he is probably producing music, drinking coffee or hanging out with his wife and kids. Mastodon

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