MATCH PREVIEW: Nashville SC v Atlanta United FC

Nashville SC came away from Fort Lauderdale with a 0-0 against Inter Miami CF and now prepare to take on Atlanta United FC at Nissan Stadium. The Boys in Gold are fresh off a full week of rest and back at home. Let’s take a look at how the match could play out.

Nashville SC

After playing a very compressed schedule of seven games in 25 days, Nashville gets a chance to face an opponent after a full week of rest – a week that also coincides with Atlanta United coming off a short week. After a frustrating match against Miami, the extra days should allow NSC extra time on the training field, time that will have been spent working on the attack.

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Speaking of the attack, Nashville made a splash this week, officially announcing the signing of Jhonder Cádiz as a Designated Player. Cádiz will be a great linking piece to this attack at the striker position and his ability to hold the ball will be key. However, he will not be available for selection on Saturday as he hasn’t yet entered the country and will need to quarantine once he arrives.

When they last faced Atlanta, Nashville was punished for two mistakes by Pity Martínez, who has since been transferred out of MLS. On Saturday, NSC will need to limit service in to the box from the wing positions. Against Miami, they were susceptible to crosses in to the box from out wide. The Boys In Gold will need to cut off supply from Atlanta’s full backs who will push up the field and be aware of opportunities to exploit that space.

It goes without saying , but Gary Smith is almost always going to utilize a 4-2-3-1 formation. Only on rare occasions have we seen something different this season. As Coach Smith has settle on a formation for this team, he is also beginning to settle on a more consistent lineup. I expect to see that continue and really the only change coming when Jhonder Cádiz is available.

Through the last several games, it has become increasingly clear that the striker job is Badji’s to lose until Cádiz is ready. Dominique Badji will be tasked with stretching the field and looking to create space for the likes of Leal and Mukhtar. Hany Muhktar  will line up in the central attacking position with Alex Muyl on the left and potentially Randall Leal (questionable) on the right. If Leal is unable to start, could we see David Accam? More than likely though, Abu Danladi would slot in for Leal. Muyl will look to pin back the Atlanta right back and try to win the ball higher up the field to spring the counter.

In the Midfield, Dax McCarty and Aníbal Godoy will continue with their successful partnership. This Atlanta team will press out of possession and there is no player that receives the ball under pressure than Godoy. He will be key in springing counter attacks as McCarty is able to breakup play.

The defense continues to be the most consistent part of this team. Expect to continue to see Joe Willis in goal, Dave Romney and Walker Zimmerman at Center back with Daniel Lovitz and Alistair Johnston at fullback. Lovitiz is still under threat of yellow card suspension and will need to be careful against an Atlanta team that will look to overload the wings at times.

Atlanta United FC

The Stephen Glass era at Atlanta United started off well with their 2-0 win over Nashville on August 22nd. Since then they have failed to win another game and have only picked up two points since the restart. Aside from the results, Atlanta have also lost the services of Pity Martínez as he was sold to Al-Nassr. With no permanent manager and the loss of another one of their DPs, it is safe to say Atlanta is in transition.

Atlanta is coming off a midweek game against Miami where the Five Stripes struggled to create very many meaningful chances after Ezequiel Barco had his penalty kicks saved and Torres’ goal was chalked off. The big news for the night was Jurgen Damm finally getting his first start for Atlanta and in the absence of Pity, he will need to contribute quickly.

Stephen Glass has played a 4-2-3-1 for every single match except for the 8/22 match against Atlanta and I expect to see him stick with that 4-2-3-1 considering the personnel changes.

Up top, Erick Torres has staked his claim up top in the absence of Josef Martínez even though he is still looking for his first Atlanta United goal. Behind Torres, Ezequiel Barco will line up on the left with Jurgen Damm getting the start on the right. Barco has the ability to play on the left or in the central attacking position but I expect to see Matheus Rossetto start there.

In the defensive midfield, Eric Remedi and Emerson Hyndman should he the start shielding the back four. Remedi does a great job breaking up play with Hyndman being your more box to box midfielder who will at times pushing further up the field. There is a chance Jeff Larentowicz could slot in for Remedi in favor of some veteran presence.

At the back, captain Brad Guzan will be in net with Anton Walkes and Miles Robinson in front of him. At fullback, Coach Glass will have decisions to make on both sides. I expect him to go with George Bello at left back over Edgar Castillo as it will be a more traditional back 4. On the right, Franco Escobar started when these two teams last faced off. Escobar was lucky to avoid a red card for his foul against Badji (he was retroactively suspended). Escobar could easily become a target for the Nashville offense and I expect to see Brooks Lennon get the start.


Atlanta United FC

OUT: Josef Martínez

Nashville SC

OUT: Ken Tribbett, Jimmy Medranda


Ben Wright

Score: Nashville 2 – 1 Atlanta United
Scorers: Hany Mukhtar, Alex Muyl
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Mukhtar finally gets on the scoresheet, and gets a secondary assist for Nashville’s second goal.

Andy Simmons

Score: Nashville 1 – 0 Atlanta United
Scorers: Randall Leal
MOTM: Daniel Lovitz
Bold Prediction: Nashville has majority of possession, but has fewer shots and shots on target than Atlanta.

Jonathan Slape

Score: Nashville 1 – 0 Atlanta United
Scorers: Randall Leal
MOTM: Randall Leal
Bold Prediction: Nashville creates the majority of chances but does not get the winner until late on.

Davey Shepherd

Score: Nashville 1 – 1 Atlanta United
Scorers: Hany Mukhtar
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Nashville outperforms Atlanta but come up empty too many times.

John Sloop

Score: Nashville 2 – 2 Atlanta United
Scorers: Hany Mukhtar, Daniel Ríos
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Nashville scores the first two but lets Atlanta back in

Have a prediction for this week’s match? Vote in our Fan Forecast.


Date: Saturday, 09/12/20
Time: 7:30 PM, Mercedes-Benz Stadium , Atlanta, Georgia
TV: MyTV30, ESPN+ (out of market)
Radio: 94.9 The Game 2 (English); El Jefe 96.7 (Spanish)
Forecast: 83°/71°. Scattered Thunderstorms. 60% chance of rain. 79% humidity.

Author: Jonathan Slapeoriginated from outside of Atlanta but has lived in Nashville since 2005. Original member of Speedway Soccer and has been talking and occasionally writing about Nashville SC since the USL days. Self proclaimed official fashion correspondent. Outside of Nashville SC you can find him singing the praises of Jurgen Klopp, discussing the latest in sneakers and soccer fashion with a good stiff drink.

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