Nashville SC kicks off the return from international break with a trip to Audi Field to take on D.C. United. Can they break their three game draw streak? Will D.C be able to pick up points on second place Nashville?
Hernán Losada’s D.C. United has vastly exceeded expectations this season and find themselves in fifth place and just outside the home play off spots. Tonight, they will look to bounce back from a last second loss against a Nashville SC team that has struggled to win matches as of late. Can they get a win tonight and move up the table?
If D.C. United is going to secure a result tonight, they will have to do so without some key individuals. Paul Arriola picked up a knock in the prematch warmup of the United States’ match against Costa Rica and will be unavailable along with Yordy Reyna and Edison Flores.
While Reyna, Flores and Arriola may be unavailable, D.C will still be able to call upon the league leading goal scorer, Ola Kamara. With 17 goals, Kamara is finding himself in the midst of a career year but has struggled to find the back of the net as of late. Through the last four matches, Kamara only has one goal, a penalty, and will need to find form if they are to get a result against Nashville.
The Boys in Gold find themselves in the midst of a four match unbeaten streak but with the last three matches being draws, one might consider it a bit of a slump. Tonight, starts the final run in and Nashville will be looking to secure their home playoff berth.
With six matches left, Coach Gary Smith shared that he has a targeted points total but is not ready to put that total out to the public. Their goal this week is to have a playoff spot locked up after facing D.C. United, Columbus Crew SC and Philadelphia Union.
Coming out of an international break, there is always a concern about how tired Nashville’s international stars are after an intense period of World Cup Qualifying. In Thursday’s press conference Coach Smith said that he was not going to be able to make any decisions until Alistair Johnston, Aníbal Godoy, Randall Leal, and Walker Zimmerman returned to Nashville. Smith will have his hands full managing their minutes, especially with a three match week.
Up top, Hany Mukhtar and C.J. Sapong were able to get some much needed rest over the international break and should come in to tonight’s match fresh and ready to hit the ground running. Sapong and Mukhtar both were able exploit gaps in the D.C. defense last time out and will be looking to do so again. Aké Loba has not started a match since New England but expect to see him get a chance tonight.
The midfield selection is pretty straight forward. Aníbal Godoy started all three of Panama’s matches during World Cup Qualifying and will likely be rested. That leaves the pairing of Dax McCarty and Brian Anunga to be charged with starting in midfield.
Wingback is probably the trickiest position with Alistair Johnston playing 256 minutes over the break and Daniel Lovitz being out with a foot injury. Taylor Washington will surely come in and start at left wingback but Coach Smith will have to decide between asking Johnston to go again or starting one of Eric Miller or even Alex Muyl. With the match being on the road, I would expect to see Miller get the start.
Availability report for #DCvNSH#DCU— Ben Wright (@benwright) October 15, 2021
QUESTIONABLE: Ramon Abila (groin), Adrian Perez (foot)
OUT: Paul Arriola (groin), Brendan Hines-Ike (hip), Yordy Reyna (quad), Edison Flores (calf)#EveryoneN
OUT: Dan Lovitz (foot)
Score: D.C. 1-1 Nashville
Scorers: Hany Mukhtar
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: D.C. score in the first 20 minutes
Score: D.C. 1-2 Nashville
Scorers: Hany Mukhtar, C.J. Sapong
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Nashville breaks the draw streak with an important win on the road
Score: D.C 1-0 Nashville
MOTM: Dave Romney
Bold Prediction: Nashville concedes the lone goal on a set piece
Score: D.C. 1-1 Nashville
Scorers: C.J. Sapong
MOTM: Dax McCarty
Bold Prediction: Nashville sets up in a defensive shell with quick counters and plays for a draw.
Teams: D.C. United (5th) vs Nashville SC (2nd)
Power Rankings: D.C. United (6) vs Nashville SC (4)
Odds: DC (+110), Draw (+200), Nashville (+260) via BetMGM
Date: Saturday, October 16
Time: 6:30 PM Central, Audi Field, District of Columbia
TV: MYTV30 (local), ESPN+ (out of market)
Radio: 94.9 The Game 2 (English); El Jefe 96.7 (Spanish)
Forecast: 78°/49°. Mostly Sunny. 14% chance of rain. 66% humidity