MATCH PREVIEW: Orlando City SC vs Nashville SC

Nashville SC suffered a 2-0 defeat away to Atlanta United on Sunday and have a quick turnaround this week as they travel down to Florida to take on Orlando City SC. How will the Boys in Gold bounce back against a tough Orlando City? This is how the match could play out.

Nashville SC

Through their first five games, Nashville SC has been a cohesive unit from the goalkeeper up through the back six players. The defense has performed quite well along with the midfield duo of Aníbal Godoy and Dax McCarty. However, the front 4 have struggled to find a consistent rhythm. In his pre-match press conference, Coach Smith said, “The guys up front are normally the last individuals to find that sparkle and that feel in front of goal. But when they do, and I’ve seen it before, it gives confidence to everyone…. The sooner it happens the better it will be for everyone.”

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Against Orlando, Nashville will hope that the offensive side begins to click as Orlando has a strong defense. The offensive opportunities will be limited and Nashville has to make them count. On the defensive side, NSC will have to shake off the mistakes and focus on what they do well.

Nashville has exclusively utilized the 4-2-3-1 formation and should continue to use it on Wednesday’s match against Orlando City. The matches are coming thick and fast so at some point rotation will come in to play but I do not feel that this is the match to rotate.

Until the goals start to come, the offensive side will be the biggest concern and the most heavily rotated. Alex Muyl has yet to get his first start and coach Smith said that he was wanting to let him get settled. Muyl should get his first start on the right hand side with Daniel Ríos getting the opportunity up top. Randall Leal and Hany Muhktar will round out the attack and will look to improve on their chemistry together.

Aníbal Godoy and Dax McCarty continue to look like the best midfield pair in the league and will continue to start unless injured. They are crucial in Nashville’s ability to break up play and transition quickly into the attack

In defensive, expect the back five to remain unchanged Joe Willis will start in net with the pairing of Dave Romney and Walker Zimmerman at center-back. At full-back, Daniel Lovitz and Jalil Anibaba will keep their places on the left and right respectively. Coach Smith may have been tempted to give Alistair Johnston the start at right back, but it’d be a tough task to put him up against Nani.

Orlando City SC

Óscar Pareja’s Orlando City were the surprise of the MLS Is Back tournament as they finished runner’s up to the Portland Timbers. A team that has been a perennial underachiever looks to be transformed under the former FC Dallas and Colorado Rapids coach. Their brand of high-tempo attacking soccer will pose an interesting challenge for the Boys in Gold.

This Orlando team has threats all over the field that will keep the Nashville defense on their toes. Designated player Nani will be the biggest threat for the Lions with his ability to not just score but create chances for the likes of Tesho Akindele and Chris Mueller.

On the defensive side, they are able to limit chances by breaking up play early with the likes of Oriol Rosell in the midfield and have a stout defensive core to deal with any attacks that make it through. They were able to limit the high flying LAFC to only a single goal in the Quarterfinals. The fullbacks also provide an offensive threat with João Moutinho and Ruan pushing forward to supply the attack.

Oscar Pareja heavily favors the 4-2-3-1 and there is little indication that he will switch that up against Nashville. Orlando will press high at times and look to transition quickly. NSC will need to limit the threat of their wide players and look to exploit the gaps that are left when the fullbacks get into the attack.

Up top, Tesho Akindele will get the start over rookie Darryl Dike who scored in Orlando’s 3-2 loss to Inter Miami. On the wing, MLS break out Chris Mueller will start on the right with Nani on the left. Mauricio Pereyra will pull the strings and look to facilitate chances with his passing ability

In the midfield two, Oriol Rossell and Júnior Urso will be tasked with shielding the defense and helping to transition play. There is also possibility that Jhegson Sebastián Méndez could slot in for Urso

At the back, Pedro Gallese will be in net with Robin Jansson and Antonio Carlos as the centerback pairing. As discussed earlier, João Moutinho and Ruan will lineup as the full backs and look to push forward into the attack. Both fullbacks were named to the MLS Is Back Best XI and are threats on both sides of the ball.


Orlando City SC

OUT: Dom Dwyer (knee)

Nashville SC

OUT: Ken Tribbett (calf), Jimmy Medranda (hip)


Ben Wright

Score: Nashville 1 – 1 Orlando City SC
Scorers: Dominique Badji
MOTM: Dominique Badji
Bold Prediction: Nashville’s goal comes off a turnover in midfield leading to quick counter.

Andy Simmons

Score: Nashville 0 – 1 Orlando City SC
MOTM: Dax McCarty
Bold Prediction: Nashville has more shots and shots on target but fails to convert.

Jonathan Slape

Score: Nashville 1 – 2 Orlando City SC
Scorers: Aníbal Godoy
MOTM: Aníbal Godoy
Bold Prediction: Orlando gets an early goal while Nashville fights back for an equalizer only to give up a late goal.

Davey Shepherd

Score: Nashville 1 – 1 Orlando City SC
Scorers: Randall Leal
MOTM: Hany Muhktar
Bold Prediction: Leal is able to get onto the score sheet with Hany assisting on the goal.

John Sloop

Score: Nashville 2 – 2 Orlando City SC
Scorers: Hany Muhktar, Dominique Badji
MOTM: Hany Muhktar
Bold Prediction: Both of Nashville’s goals come in the first half.

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


Date: Wednesday, 08/26/20
Time: 6:30 PM, Exploria Stadium, Orlando, Florida
TV: MyTV30, ESPN+ (out of market)
Radio: 94.9 The Game 2 (English); El Jefe 96.7 (Spanish)
Forecast: 94°/79°. Partly Cloudy. 20% chance of rain. 62% 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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