Nashville SC played spoiler to Toronto FC’s chances of reaching the MLS Cup Final for the second-straight year with a 1-0 victory in extra time.
Below are our player ratings.
Each member of the Speedway Soccer crew gives each player that saw the pitch a rating based on their match performance. Below is a quick guideline for our evaluation process.
- A rating of 6 denotes an average performance. Each player starts out with a 6 and their performance either adds or subtracts from that rating.
- Scores are determined after re-watching the match and looking at the stats, and are the averaged total of each Speedway member’s ratings.
Joe Willis – 7.5: Willis only had four saves on the night, but each one was very crucial down the stretch given the flow of the game. He had one major hiccup though on an errant pass that almost gifted Toronto a goal.
Daniel Lovitz – 7.8: Lovitz had a tall task ahead of him to defend his flank due to Toronto’s tendencies to charge down the flank. He did well and even provided his usual excellent service to boot.
Dave Romney – 8.3: Romney won nearly every ball that came his direction and limited Jozy Altidore and the Toronto attack as a whole.
Walker Zimmerman – 8: Brilliant as usual in the air, and was up to the task of facing both Altidore and Ayo Akinola when he came on. His experience will come in handy for Nashville’s Eastern Conference Semifinal vs. Columbus.
Alistar Johnston – 9.3: Whipped in some absolute gems of crosses that could have easily resulted in goals on another night. His involvement in the buildup was a big reason why Nashville had the number of shots they did.
Dax McCarty – 7.8: As Ben Wright pointed out in his matchups to watch piece, McCarty would have to be sharp in this matchup against fellow USMNT standout Michael Bradley. For the most part, he was. He’s a guy this team will lean on even more for experience as they head into their match against Columbus.
Brian Anunga – 8: Filling in for Anibal Godoy would be no easy task, especially against a midfield as talented as Toronto’s. Give credit to Anunga, though, he does his job as a true 6 well. Nothing flashy. Just keeps his mistakes to a minimum and is tidy with his dribbling and distribution.
Alex Muyl – 7.5: Was on the receiving end of a kick to the netherregion that probably should have warranted a red card for Jonathan Osorio. Regardless, Muyl had some great service and really worked hard on his flank.
Hany Mukhtar – 9: Mukhtar missed a bevy of headers that could have given Nashville the lead and had a goal disallowed for offside, but finally had his moment of brilliance in extra time when he weaved through a few defenders to get his shot off that lead to Rios cleaning it up for the lone goal.
Randall Leal – 7.3: A pretty quiet night for Leal despite the flurry of shots for Nashville. He had a few looks late, but was not as present as he has been in past matches.
Jhonder Cadiz – 7: Really unfortunate to be called offside and have a goal disallowed not once, but twice. As a striker, his field awareness needs to be better in those situations.
Daniel Rios – 8.5: Rios with a true “right place, right time” goal pouncing on Mukhtar’s shot on target that fell behind Westberg for an open net goal. His holdup play was a big reason that goal happened in the first place and why Nashville is moving on.
Derrick Jones – 7.3: Jones replaced Anunga to try and provide a bit more offense from the midfield.
Taylor Washington – 7.3: Had a key clearance that led to a foul for Nashville while trying to see out the result.
Matt LaGrassa – 6.3: Also had a key clearance late in the match and also fared well on the defensive side.
Jalil Anibaba – 6: Brought in at end of extra time to solidify the defense and pivot to a three-at-the-back in preparation for Toronto’s late efforts at goal.
Gary Smith – 9.5: Smith’s patience to not fiddle with the lineup during the match should be praised. He did make the crucial swap at striker that ultimately led to the goal and then adjusted accordingly after the fact. In the two playoff matches under Smith, he seems to have found the right blend of sitting back and absorbing pressure, but also a dangerous flowing attack that has come into question. Whether that continues against Columbus remains to be seen.
What say you? Do you agree or disagree with our match ratings? Feel free to reach out to us on Twitter and let us know your thoughts!