Preview: D.C. United vs Nashville SC

Nashville SC experienced their first home loss since November of 2020, ending their home unbeaten streak at 25 matches with a 2-1 result to Sporting Kansas City. Tonight, they travel to Audi Field to take on a struggling D.C. United. Can the Coyotes bounce back and get a win on the road? Will D.C. be able to get their first win since May 7th?

D.C. United

Current standing: 13th (East) | 4-2-8 | -7 GD
Power Ranking: 23rd

OUT: Bill Hamid (illness), Theo Ku-DiPietro (illness), Adrien Perez (foot)
QUESTIONABLE: Moses Nyeman (thigh), Chris Odoi-Atsem (thigh)

The 2022 season has not gone to plan for D.C. United. They finished the 2021 season just one point out of the playoffs in the Eastern Conference and were expected to take the next step forward.

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After a disappointing start and conflict among the squad, Hernan Losada was let go after just eight matches. In his absence, Chris Aston stepped in as the interim coach for the remainder of the season. Since that change, D.C. has gone 2-1-4 and finds itself in 13th place and out of last place on goal difference.

In the absence of Losada, Ashton has been forced to play a very similar style with a few tactical tweaks. They typically lineup in a back three/five with three center backs flanked by wingbacks. They will still press high when given a chance but not to the extent of a Losada team.

The area where this team has struggled the most is on the offensive side of the ball. Their 17 goals put them only ahead of Inter Miami and Chicago in the Eastern Conference.

However, it isn’t due to the lack of offensive players. Ola Kamara is coming off a career year in 2021 in which he scored 19 goals, and Michael Estrada has proven his ability to score goals in this league.

The issue seems to be with offensive creativity. Designated Player Edison Flores was moved on this week to Liga MX side Atlas FC in order to make room for Martín Rodríguez. Unfortunately for D.C., Rodríguez won’t be available until July 7th when the MLS transfer window reopens.

If D.C. can find an offensive spark, they will have a chance to secure a result against Nashville.

Nashville SC

Current standing: 6th (West) | 6-5-5 | +1 GD
Power Ranking: 7th

OUT: Handwalla Bwana (thigh), Robert Castellanos (ankle)

The ‘Yotes come into tonight’s match looking to bounce back from their disappointing loss to what was then the last-placed team in the Western Conference. The 2-1 defeat at GEODIS Park came on the back of a mistake by Joe Willis to give up the first goal. However, there was a bit of a silver lining as Aké Loba picked up his first goal of the season.

Not only will Nashville be looking to get a result on the road to D.C., but they will also be looking forward to their midweek match-up against Orlando City in the Open Cup. If Nashville can get a win against Orlando, they have the opportunity to host both a semi-final and the Open Cup Final if they are to progress. With that opportunity lurking, what do the Boys in Gold prioritize?

Coach Gary Smith has struggled with options over the past few weeks and has been forced to name two goalkeepers to his bench. The good news for him as that he is down to an injury list of just Handwalla Bwana and Robert Castellanos. With an Open Cup match in the midweek, what kind of rotation do we see?

In his pre-match press conference, Smith said that tonight’s match was the sole focus and that they would not begin to look forward to the Orlando and Portland matches until they got through the game against D.C. While I take him at his word to an extent, he will definitely have a few changes in mind.

With Randall Leal back healthy, we have really seen what the team has been missing in his absence and expect to see him back into the lineup alongside Hany Mukhtar and C.J. Sapong. Aké Loba had his best match of the season against SKC, and while it feels harsh to leave him out of the starting lineup, he will definitely be an option off the bench.

The biggest decision for the coach will be what to do with Joe Willis. The veteran goalkeeper has struggled this season and made several costly mistakes. We have seen Elliot Panicco be given an opportunity to replace Joe Willis and could see that again tonight.

If Nashville is able to eliminate the sloppy mistakes, they should find this D.C team to be beatable.

Pod picks

Andy Simmons

Score: D.C. 1 – 1 Nashville
Scores: Aké Loba
MOTM: Aké Loba
Bold Prediction: Loba gets

Lucas Panzica

Score: D.C. 1 – 1 Nashville
Scorers: Hany Mukhtar 
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Aké Loba does not start the game but enters the game at half again

Jonathan Slape

Score: D.C. 1 – 2 Nashville
Scorers: Hany Mukhtar, Aké Loba
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Teal Bunbury comes off the bench and gets at least 15 minutes.

Ben Wright

Score: D.C. 0 – 1 Nashville
Scorers: Hany Mukhtar
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Aké Loba comes off the bench and assists

Fan Forecast

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Match Info

Teams: D.C. United vs Nashville SC
Odds: D.C. (+125), Draw (+230), Nashville (+200) via BetMGM
Date: Saturday, June 25
Time: 4:00 PM Central, Audi Field, Washington D.C.
Radio: iHeartRadio Online (English); El Jefe 96.7 (Spanish)
Forecast: 90°/68°. Partly Cloudy 10% chance of rain. 49% 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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