Nashville SC lost their first match since the restart on Saturday night, falling 2-0 on the road to Atlanta United. The Boys In Gold showed plenty of potential against Atlanta, but were unable to capitalize on their chances. The Five Stripes, on the other hand, finished their opportunities clinically, despite being limited to just six total shots.
Head coach Gary Smith sent out an unchanged team from the one that drew 0-0 in Dallas last Sunday, giving Alistair Johnston his second-ever MLS start.
An unchanged XI and bench for #NashvilleSC tonight. | #ATLvNSH #UniteAndConquer #EveryoneN pic.twitter.com/h8NjU0noO3— Speedway Soccer (@SpeedwaySoc) August 22, 2020
Nashville started out the first half right where they left off against Dallas, forcing turnovers in midfield and looking dangerous around the box. Consistently, though, the final ball broke down, with misplaced passes, poorly-weighted crosses or bad decisions dooming Nashville to frustration.
It was just after one of these missed chances that Atlanta struck. After Johnston’s one-v-one shot was saved by Guzan, Remedi played a diagonal ball to Pity Martínez, who beat Walker Zimmerman a little too easily before slotting his shot home through the legs of Joe Willis. It was a frustrating goal to concede for Nashville, who had been the more dangerous side for 40 minutes.
After the break, Nashville continued to look lively, creating a couple of nervy moments for Atlanta through the press and using Badji’s pace to stretch the field. However, it was Atlanta once again who were the more clinical team.
After a poor giveaway from Walker Zimmerman in midfield, Atlanta broke quickly, circulating the ball back to the top of the box for Martinez, who smashed the ball into the top corner. A world-class strike, certainly, but the buildup was preventable.
Smith threw on attackers late in the match to try and get something going forward, but it wasn’t enough for Nashville, who fell 2-0 to an Atlanta side that looked revitalized under new manager Stephen Glass.
After the match, head coach Gary Smith talked about the lack of quality in the final third for Nashville.
“I’m certain that the 2-0 score doesn’t reflect how the game unfolded, he said. “[The stats] will bear me out that we were nowhere near clinical enough… Do we need someone who can find the back of the net? 100%.”
The Boys In Gold travel to Orlando City on Wednesday.
Full Time Stats
Shots: Atlanta 6 – 15 Nashville
Shots on goal: Atlanta 4 – 5 Nashville
xG: Atlanta 0.55 – 1.62 Nashville
Goals: Atlanta 2 – 0 Nashville
Possession: Atlanta 55.7% – 44.3% Nashville
Yellow Cards: Atlanta 3 – 1 Nashville
Red Cards: Atlanta 0 – 0 Nashville