Nashville SC got off to a good start playing its most complete half of the season in the opening forty five. If the Starting XI surprised you, join the club. Virtually no one had this group on their team sheet before the official lineup dropped prior to the game. Bwana and Mukhtar both missed out due to injury, but the biggest surprise was Sapong being named to the XI in a game where Nashville SC desperately needed all three points. Gary Smith was rewarded for his faith in the MLS veteran with a goal the truly did tell the story of the half. NSC was dominant through the midfield, and had the better of both the ball and chances. Lovtiz played in a looping cross following a corner, and a flicked header from Zimmerman found Sapong far post. In fairness, this is the exact type of goal we’ve seen Cadiz score twice this year. Going the other way, Zimmerman and Romney were smothering keeping The Revolution’s talisman Carlos Gil in pocket.
The tide appeared to turn in the second half, if only for a moment. A slip from Walker Zimmerman allowed the Revs to spring a counter that ended in a goal. The pass that started the sequence from Carlos Gil was ruled offside by a fair margin. After that it was back on the front foot for Nashville. Badji continued an impressive outing until the 63rd minute when Cadiz came on. The DP who was on the bench for the first time this season had a header saved (which he was eventually ruled offside on) as well as a good effort from a tight angle at the near post. The insurance goal came from Alex Muyl in the 75th. The hard working winger who has done just about everything but score regularly for Nashville collected a giveaway from The Revolution and made no mistake with his finish.
That’s how this one finished at Nissan Stadium. Nashville kept a clean sheet for the second week in a row, and got its first three points of the season. Well deserved result from a club that hasn’t gotten the points to match so far to start the season.
- Changes to The XI:
As touched on earlier, we saw CJ Sapong get his first start of the season. He was excellent in his minutes excluding even the goal. Plainly put he’s the strongest of the forwards by a mile and it’s noticeable in his hold up play. I’m still not willing to say I found what he does “better” than Cadiz, but it’s certainly different and fans won’t be wrong for noting that when he CJ started, the club won.
Bwana and Mukhtar both missed out on the team sheet today due to injuries. Currently, we have no word on the severity of those injuries, but when you add on Rios, Danladi and Anunga it’s not a pretty sight for Gary Smith when it comes time to name his XI and subs. Something to keep an eye on before the trip to Salt Lake City next week.
- Midfield Domination:
Godoy and Dax were both to their usual selves today. Godoy has been one of the more consistent performers for Smith so far this season, but through the opening two games McCarty was a step off his 2020 pace. While there was an improvement last week, Phil Neville’s game plan stymied the Nashville attack centrally cutting off the double pivot’s connection with the forwards. Not the case today. They were excellent defensively clogging the middle and choking off Carlos Gil, and going forward they dictated nearly everything for Nashville. Really encouraging performance to see especially with Anunga currently sidelined.