Preview: Nashville SC at Atlanta United

After a heartbreaking loss on penalties to Inter Miami, the ‘Yotes are back in action in the league. Tonight, they travel south to take on Atlanta United. Will Nashville struggle with a cup hangover or will they be ready to hit the ground running?

Atlanta United FC

7st (East) | 48 points | 10-8-7 | +5 GD |
Power Rankings: 11

Injuries / Absences:

Out: Jamal Thiare (visa), Ozzie Alonso (leg)

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Atlanta went nearly a month without playing a match. They failed to advance from their Leagues Cup group, falling 4-0 to Lionel Messi and Inter Miami before losing in penalties to Cruz Azul.

Back in MLS action last weekend, though, they looked in form and dangerous, beating Seattle Sounders 2-0 on the road to move up to seventh place in the Eastern Conference, tied with Nashville for 38 points.

Heading into tonight, questions swirl around Thiago Almada. The Argentine playmaker is reportedly the subject of transfer interest from Dutch powerhouse Ajax, who have serious interest in bringing him to Amsterdam before the transfer window ends next week. Could this be his last match in the black and red?

Nashville SC

6th (East) | 38 points | 11-5-8 | +9 GD |
Power Rankings: 7

Injuries / Absences:

Out: Nick DePuy (Achilles)
Questionable: Walker Zimmerman (lower body)

Suspended: Fafa Picault (red card),Taylor Washington (red card)

Nashville stumbled into the Leagues Cup break with losses to Philadelphia and Cincinnati but seemingly rounded a corner during the tournament. In the pre-match press conference Gary Smith said, “Slowly but surely into the knockout rounds, we began to see a more consistent and maybe Nashville-looking group that we’ve grown accustomed to seeing.”

Nashvillle starts the ten game run in tonight as they look to get into home playoff position. A win for the Coyotes would also clinch the Southern Championship Belt for the second-consecutive year.

Nashville has a few absences to deal with post Leagues Cup. Fafa Picault and Taylor Washington are unavailable due to the red cards they picked up in that match against Cincinnati and Walker Zimmerman is questionable with a lowerbody injury.

When selecting his team, Gary Smith will also have to take into account the upcoming fixture congestion with a midweek match at Miami followed by a home game against Charlotte. With that in mind, I expect to see Walker Zimmerman be given the game off. Lukas MacNaughton had a fantastic tournament and earlier this season paired well with Jack Maher.

In the midfield, expect to see the same lineup that started against Miami. Dax McCarty will sit at the base of the diamond and look to limit Atlanta’s possession by denying Thiago Almada time and space. On the outside of the diamond, Anibal Godoy and Alex Muyl will provide the legs in midfield with Muyl drifting wider than Godoy will.

In the attack, Hany Mukhtar will be at the tip of the diamond underneath Jacob Shaffelburg and Sam Surridge. Against, the Five Stripes Mukhtar should be able to exploit the space between the midfielders and defenders and look to play balls into Shaffelburg or link up with Surridge.

Nashville has been an offensive force since the inclusion of Surridge. Does that continue against Atlanta?

Pod Picks

Chris Ivey

Score: Nashville 2-1 Atlanta
Scorers: Hany Mukhtar, Sam Surridge
MOTM: Sam Surridge
Bold Prediction: Almada tries a bit too hard in what he personally sees as his final game in Atlanta

Ben Wright

Score: Nashville 3-1 Atlanta
Scorers: Hany Mukhtar, Sam Surridge, Jacob Shaffelburg
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Hany Mukhtar scores a goal and assists two.

Jonathan Slape

Score: Nashville 2-0 Atlanta
Scorers: Hany Mukhtar, Sam Surridge
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Mukhtar ends the game with a goal and assist

Valair Shabilla

Score: Nashville 1-1 Atlanta
Scorers: Sam Surridge
MOTM: Sam Surridge
Bold Prediction: Late equalizer is scored by one of the teams.

Fan Forecast

Match info

Teams: Atlanta United FC v. Nashville SC
Odds: ATL (+105), Draw (+260), NSH (+225) via BetMGM
Date: Saturday, August 26
Time: 6:30 pm CDT, Mercedes Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia
TV: Apple TV
Radio: 104.5 The Zone (English); El Jefe 96.7 (Spanish)
Forecast: 98°/74°. Mostly Sunny. 20% chance of rain. 47% 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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