Preview: Nashville SC v Houston Dynamo FC

After the international break, Nashville SC are back at home for their final regular season match. Tonight, they take on the Houston Dynamo, who are looking to avoid finishing bottom in the Western Conference.

Can Nashville punch their ticket to the MLS Cup Playoffs? Will Houston play spoiler for the second time this season?

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Nashville SC

Current standing: 5th (West) | 47 points | 12-11-9 | +11 GD
Power Rankings: 4th (21.61 score)

Injuries

QUESTIONABLE: Aníbal Godoy (left thigh), Alex Muyl (concussion)

Nashville SC kept their unbeaten streak alive when they went to Q2 Stadium and picked up a 1-1 draw against Austin FC. Tonight, they looked to get back to winning against get revenge against the Houston Dynamo.

Going into this weekend’s block of fixtures, Nashville needed just a win to secure their playoff future for the third season. However, yesterday’s results broke Nashville’s way and they could be playoff bound before the match at GEODIS Park gets underway.

Not only did the results break Nashville’s way to secure their playoff spot, FC Dallas lost to the Colorado Rapids. A win tonight against Houston ad Nashville moves up to the third spot in the table. They cannot clinch a home playoff game but find themselves with an even better opportunity.

Outside of the playoff push for the ‘Yotes, individual awards are still at stake. Hany Mukhtar still leads the golden boot race with 23 goals to Sebastian Driussi’s 21 while also leading in the Goals and assist charts. A win and a couple more goals and assists would further cement his lead in the MVP race.

Nashville SC made it through the international break without any injuries to Walker Zimmerman and, outside of a few minor knocks, have a fairly healthy squad. Aníbal Godoy is questionable with a thigh strain, and the staff is cautious with him. Gary Smith stated in the press conference that they want to ensure he is fully fit before returning to the lineup.

Additionally, Alex Muyl is questionable with some symptoms from a previous concussion. The Tua Tagovailoa injury in the NFL was a sobering reminder of the seriousness of head injuries. I hope the club holds him out if he experiences any symptoms.

As we have seen through Nashville’s impressive run of form, Smith will stick with the players and formation that is working for him and do not expect much deviation from the team we saw against Austin.

I expect to see Walker Zimmerman slot straight back in to the defense in place of Jack Maher. Zimmerman struggled a bit during the international break and will be looking to put in some strong performances to close out the year.

If Nashville avoids the set piece mistakes, there is little chance of this being anything less than a win for the Coyotes.

Houston Dynamo FC

Current standing: 14th (West) | 33 points | 9-6-17 | -12 GD
Power Rankings: 24th (-3.80 score)

Injuries

QUESTIONABLE: Beto Avila (left leg), Héctor Herrera (right leg), Memo Rodríguez (left leg)
OUT: Daniel Steres (right arm), Xavier Valdes (head
)

The 2022 season started off with much promise for the Houston Dynamo but the actuality is that it is a season the club would like to forget.

New Ownership, fresh investment, and the signing of Héctor Herrera meant that this team was building for something and while wasn’t expected to be world beaters, they hoped to be building something.

Coming into tonights match, they find themselves at the bottom of the Western Conference with just 33 points through 32 matches. Luckily, DC United have clinched the Wooden Spoon but they can still finish last in the conference.

The previous Houston v Nashville watch was one of the lone bright spots for the Dynamo as they picked up a 2-0 win even after a red card in the 35th minute. That was a Nashville team was dealing with fixture congestion after an extra time win in the Open Cup.

The Dynamo won’t line up much different under interim coach Kenny Bundy than they did under Pablo Nagamura. Expect to see a 4-2-3-1 with Darwin Quintero in the hole behind Sebastián Ferreira as they look to disrupt the Nashville backline.

The big question for the Dynamo is around the health of Héctor Herrera who is questionable with a right leg injury. Herrera has not appeared since their match at the Rapids on August 20th. With very little on the line, I don’t expect to see him risked this evening.

Houston will need a bit of luck and a good performance to get a result tonight, but it wouldn’t be the first time against Nashville SC.

Pod picks

Andy Simmons

Score: Nashville 3 – 0 Houston
Scores: Hany Mukhtar (x2), C.J. Sapong
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Sapong goal comes off a set piece

Chris Ivey

Score: Nashville 3 – 0 Houston
Scorers: Hany Mukhtar (x2), Randall Leal
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Leal scores a banger of a goal.

Ben Wright

Score: Nashville 4 – 1 Houston
Scorers: Hany Mukhtar (x3), Randall Leal
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Houston score in the first 5 mins

Jonathan Slape

Score: Nashville 3 – 0 Houston
Scores: Hany Mukhtar (x2), Aké Loba
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Loba comes off the bench and gets a late goal on the break.

Fan Forecast

Match Info

Teams: Nashville SC vs Houston Dynamo FC
Odds: Nashville (-225), Draw (+350), Houston (+550) via BetMGM
Date: Sunday, October 2
Time: 7:30 pm CT, GEODIS Park, Nashville, Tennessee
TV: MYTV30, ESPN+
Radio: iHeartRadio Online (English); El Jefe 96.7 (Spanish)
Forecast: 79°/50°. Sunny. 0% chance of rain. 41% 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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