NASHVILLE, TN – For the second consecutive match, Nashville SC started slowly and were punished. The Boys In Gold were caught flat footed by a surging CF Montréal, giving up a two goal lead before coming to life in the second half.
Head coach Gary Smith made just one change to the lineup, giving winger Handwalla Bwana his first start in place of Alex Muyl. Dylan Nealis made his first appearance in a matchday squad after arriving from Inter Miami 14 days ago, while Luke Haakenson was once again named to the bench after impressing in preseason.
Nashville once again started the match slowly. Forward Mason Toye picked up a ball in space and wasn’t closed down quickly enough. He took his space and curled a gorgeous shot into the top corner, his second in as many matches.
Nashville began creating chances after down a goal. Jhonder Cádiz came close a couple times, denied by really brave goalkeeping from Clement Diop. Randall Leal forced a strong save, and Nashville put Montréal under sustained pressure for much of the half. It was the visitors, though, who found the net.
Zachary Braunt-Guillard picked up the ball in his own half after a giveaway from Dan Lovitz and ran uncontested to the top of Nashville’s box, where his rocket of a shot took a deflection off of Dave Romney before striking the bar on its way into the net.
Nashville were dominant in the second half, and pulled one back through Jhonder Cádiz. The Venezuelan DP again linked up with Randall Leal, getting on the end of a cross and heading home at the back post. Nashville continued to press after the goal, with Leal and Cádiz coming close, and shouts for a handball denied after a shot from hany Mukhtar struck Victor Wynyama in the arm.
Nashville pulled level in the 77th minute through Hany Mukhtar. The German pounced on a loose ball in the box after CJ Sapong had a header blocked, and thumped a left-footed drive past Diop to tie the match. Nashville continued to press for a winner, with a Romney header hitting the post, and several other chances either saved or narrowly missed.
Ultimately, the second half onslaught wasn’t enough to earn a win. Just as in their previous match against FC Cincinnati, Nashville took a point from another home match. They’ll continue their home stand next week, taking on Inter Miami CF at Nissan Stadium.
Nashville again started slow and were punished. For the second week in a row, Nashville were thoroughly outplayed to being the match, with Montréal taking two goals from largely preventable defensive situations. Nashville improved significantly after the break, but the hole they had dug themselves into was too deep to earn the win.
Nashville once again created loads of chances. For the second consecutive match, Nashville had no issue creating chances, wracking up 2.98 expected goals and forcing Clement Diop to make six saves. While the defense is struggling to keep their goal intact at home, Nashville seems like their attack picked up where it left off last year.
Jhonder Cádiz continues his scoring form, bagging his second goal in as many games. He also was more involved in buildup play, bringing both Leal and Mukhtar into the match and consistently drawing attention from the defenders. His start to the season is incredibly encouraging.
Nashville drop points again at home. When the schedule came out, Nashville’s front loaded home schedule seemed like a great chance to compile points at home before heading on the road for much of the second half of the year. They’ve now taken just two points from their first two matches, both against sides who they finished ahead of last season. It’s still early, and by no means time to panic, but Nashville have to stop dropping points at home.
Shots: NSH 18 – 9 MTL
Shots on goal: NSH 8 – 4 MTL
Expected goals: NSH 2.96 – 0.65 MTL
Goals: NSH 2 – 2 MTL
Possession: NSH 56.9% – 43.1% MTL
Yellow cards: NSH 2 – 3 MTL
Red cards: NSH 0 – 0 MTL