Playoff Preview: Nashville SC vs Orlando City SC

The ‘Yotes played Orlando to a 1-0 loss and head back to GEODIS Park rueing their missed chances at Exploria Stadium. Tonight, they face a must-win game that is more than likely the final home match of the season. Can Nashville score a goal? Or will Orlando beat this team for the third match in a row.

Playoff Standings

Orlando City leads the series 1-0 and advances to the next round with a win against Nashville.

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Nashville SC

7th (East) | 49 points | 13-10-11 | +7 GD |
Power Rankings: 11

Injuries / Absences:

Questionable: Randall Leal (lower body injury)
Nick DePuy (Achilles)

Monday night was a frustrating affair for fans and players alike. Nashville went into the game with the plan to sit back and hit Orlando on the counter and it worked up until the ball needed to end up in the back of the net.

In the first half, Sam Surridge had an unmarked chance to put Nashville ahead but instead failed to even put the ball on frame. A similar chance fell to Teal Bunbury who, like Surridge, was unmarked and failed to put the shot on goal.

Nashville has enough issues trying to create chances and can’t afford to not put them on target.

Looking at last week, Gary Smith’s plan to sit back and counter worked to an extent, and while we could see him employ a similar game plan tonight, I expect them to be more on the front foot.

The most substantial change we will see is Dax McCarty coming into the midfield after missing last week with a slight knock. His ability to play those long balls over the top could create better opportunities for the attackers looking to stretch the Orlando backline.

One of the more perplexing things we saw last week was how late Smith waited to introduce Fafa Picault. In the past, we have seen Shaffelburg and Picault being used as a like-for-like replacement. One would start and then the other would come off the bench and run at tired legs. Picault didn’t make an appearance until the 85th minute. Was Smith saving him for tonight?

Nashville can’t afford to sit back and let the chances come to them. They need to get on top of Orlando early and get the crowd going.

Orlando City SC

2nd (East) | 63 points | 18-9-7 | +16 GD |
Power Rankings: 6

Injuries / Absences:

Out: Favian Loyola (left arm), Jack Lynn (left thigh)

Orlando looked very confident last Monday against Nashville. They were able to control the possession and dictate the pace of the game. This resulted in them having the majority of the chances and at the end of the day, were the ones to walk away with a point.

However, they were bailed out by the Nashville forwards missing two clear-cut chances on the counter, and will need to limit the opportunities the Yotes have to break in transition.

The injury report for Orlando is identical to their last match and with how game one played out, left wing is the only area that Oscar Pareja may change. Pareja opted for Iván Angulo over Martín Ojeda on Monday. Regardless of which winger Orlando goes with, they will look to pin Shaq Moore back to stop him from making those overlapping runs into the Nashville attacking third.

The middle of the field is where we could see a more interesting battle than we did last week. With the absence of Dax McCarty, Nashville did not have a player who could play those incisive passes from the midfield. If McCarty is fit, César Araújo and Wilder Cartagena will have a bit more work to do to ensure they don’t get opened up at the back.

As long as Orlando limits the opportunities that fall to Hany Mukhtar and Sam Surridge, they should be able to find their way through to the next round.

Press Conference

Preview Pod

Pod Picks

Chris Ivey

Score: Nashville 1-1 Orlando (Nashville in PKs)
Scorers: Sam Surridge
MOTM: Sam Surridge
Bold Prediction: Orlando advances 5-4 on penalties as Gallese gets a stop

Ben Wright

Score: Nashville 2-0 Orlando
Scorers: Sam Surridge x2
MOTM: Sam Surridge
Bold Prediction: Nashville score both withing 15 minutes of halftime.

Jonathan Slape

Score: Nashville 1-1 Orlando (Orlando in PKs)
Scorers: Lukas MacNaughton
MOTM: Lukas MacNaughton
Bold Prediction: Nashville gets a late equalizer but goes out in penalties.

Valair Shabilla

Score: Nashville 1-2 Orlando
Scorers: Sam Surridge
MOTM: Sam Surridge
Bold Prediction: Orlando scores late as Nashville pushes for a winner.

Fan Forecast

Match info

Teams: Orlando City SC vs Nashville SC
Odds: NSH (+105), Draw (+230), ORL (+250) via BetMGM
Date: Tuesday, November 7
Time: 8:00 pm CDT, GEODIS Park, Nashville, Tennessee
TV: Apple TV (Free),
Radio: 104.5 The Zone (English); El Jefe 96.7 (Spanish)
Forecast: 78°/58°. Cloudy 0% chance of rain. 52% humidity

Author: Jonathan Slapeoriginated from outside of Atlanta but has lived in Nashville since 2005. Original member of Speedway Soccer and has been talking and occasionally writing about Nashville SC since the USL days. Self proclaimed official fashion correspondent. Outside of Nashville SC you can find him singing the praises of Jurgen Klopp, discussing the latest in sneakers and soccer fashion with a good stiff drink.

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