Nashville SC were creative, if not economical, against a difficult FC Dallas side in Sunday night’s 0-0 draw. The expansion side created plenty of chances after a long weather delay, leaving a good account of themselves despite not finding the back of the net.
Last Wednesday was Nashville’s first match in 157 days, but at times on Sunday, the 209 minute weather delay felt just as long.
Gary Smith made a couple changes to the lineup, bringing in Jalil Anibaba at right back and giving Alistair Johnston a start on the wing after a promising subsitute appearance midweek. Most surprisingly, Dom Badji got the start ahead of Daniel Ríos.
#NashvilleSC starting XI for #DALvNSH:— Speedway Soccer (@SpeedwaySoc) August 17, 2020
Willis; Anibaba, Zimmerman, Romney, Lovitz; McCarty ©️, Godoy; Johnston, Mukhtar, Leal; Badji
SUBS: Panicco, Maher, Beckeles, Washington, LaGrassa, Jones, Danladi, Accam, Ríos#EveryoneN pic.twitter.com/Ez96vzkSTH
The lightning finally moved on, but the electricity remained. Nashville picked up right where they had left off on Wednesday. With Mukhtar in a more central role, he was able to link up with Badji and combine with Leal to much great effect. The first half was all Nashville, testing Jimmy Maurer’s goal four times, including a pair of rifled efforts from Johnston and Leal.
The second half saw more of the same, with Nashville controlling the ball in dangerous areas and creating plenty of chances, the best of which fell to Badji. The striker picked up the ball on the half-turn just inside the box before smacking his shot off the inside of the post. It should have been a goal for Nashville, and was the closest of their many chances.
Off the post!— Major League Soccer (@MLS) August 17, 2020
Sooo close for Dominique Badji. #DALvNSH pic.twitter.com/WEk2XfXuy7
In the end, tired legs seemed to doom Nashville to a single point. Head coach Gary Smith handed an MLS debut to Taylor Washington, as well as bringing on Derrick Jones, David Accam and Abu Danladi. Despide the influx of pace, it was Dallas who ended up on the front foot for the latter stages of the match. The home side were able to work the ball around Nashville’s box, testing Joe Willis a handful of times, and sending several more efforts wide.
David Accam nearly found himself the hero for the second match running. Early into second half stoppage time, the winger caught Maurer out of his goal and sent a 60 yard effort just wide of the post.
Ultimately, the match ended in a 0-0 draw. Four points, two clean sheets, and the first win in club history is a decent week’s work, although Smith will likely regret a couple of the missed chances that should have sealed all three points.
Alistair Johnston continued to impress. After playing 23 minutes off the bench on Wednesday, the 21-year-old rookie got the start, testing Maurer with a driven shot, as well as putting in several dangerous crosses.
“Alistair was able to take on board exactly what was required of him. In fact, he had a couple of reasonable opportunities and supplied a couple himself,” said Smith. “The boy’s had a terrific debut. If I was him, I wouldn’t be going to sleep tonight – I’d be watching the game again.”
The draw moves Nashville up into 11th place in the East. They’ll travel to Atlanta United next Saturday for a rematch after losing their MLS debut to the Five Stripes 2-1 back in February.
FULL TIME STATS
SHOTS: Dallas 12 – 21 Nashville
SHOTS ON GOAL: Dallas 1 – 7 Nashville
GOALS: Dallas 0 – 0 Nashville
SAVES: Dallas 7 – 1 Nashville
POSSESSION: Dallas 63.8% – 36.2% Nashville
YELLOW CARDS: Dallas 1 – 1 Nashville
RED CARDS: Dallas 0 – 0 Nashville