Preview: Nashville SC vs New York City FC

Fresh off their first win on the road, Nashville SC return home to Nissan Stadium. Tonight, they face a red-hot New York City FC team that is looking to move up the table and secure a home playoff position. How will Nashville handle their international absences? Can NYCFC break Nashville’s unbeaten home record?

Nashville SC

After the confidence boost of their first road win, Nashville SC prepare to face one of the best teams in the league. With only four home matches remaining, the Boys in Gold will need to maximize result at home.

Coming in to tonight’s match, head coach Gary Smith is face with depleted squad due to the international break. Walker Zimmerman, Alistair Johnston, Randall Leal and Aníbal Godoy are all unavailable due to the international break.

I expect to see the same back three system he’s used for the majority of the season. It allows Smith to use a double pivot in midfield, while also letting the forwards have more freedom positionally and less pressure defensively.

Daniel Ríos got his first start of the season against Atlanta United, scoring the match deciding goal in a crucial road result. Ríos has primarily featured alongside C.J. Sapong, but we may see Aké Loba get the chance to start in Sapong’s place. In his pre-match press conference, Coach Smith specifically mentioned that Loba’s fitness has increased and he is close to starting.

In the midfield, Dax McCarty and Brian Anunga will be responsible for winning the ball back from New York and working to transition quick to the attack. They will have their work cut out for them as Maxi Moralez and Jesus Medina will both be trying to exploit the gaps between midfield and defense.

At the back, I expect to see a familiar set up to what we saw this summer. Jalil Anibaba will come in and anchor the center of the back three with Dave Romney and Jack Maher either side of him. Out wide, I expect Smith to continue with the Taylor Washington and Daniel Lovitz pairing. Lovitz look really good as an inverted wingback against Atlanta and see it as the best option against New York.

New York City SC

Ronny Deila’s NYCFC team are currently unbeaten in seven of their last eight matches, including a 2-0 win over the Supporter Shield leaders New England Revolution in their last match. Much like Nashville, they’re missing some key players due to the international break. It will be interesting to see how they cope without their starting centerback pairing and their main defensive midfielder.

Delia will line his team up in his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation as they look to maintain possession and dictate the flow of the game. They will look to use that possession to create mismatches on the field and generate opportunities. If they lose the ball expect them to press quickly to win possession back. If Nashville is able to force turnovers they should have an opportunity to quickly counter.

With James Sands, Maxime Chanot and Alex Callens all missing from the middle of the park, Nashville should have some opportunities to exploit those absences and find a goal or two.

On the opposite side of the ball, Valentín Castellanos will look for every opportunity to score against a depleted Nashville defense. The Argentinian forward currently has ten goals and six assists this season, including four goals and two assists over the last four matches. He is quick and will look to drag defenders out of position.

While NYCFC have a strong case to be the best side in the league, the majority of their points have come at home. They haven’t won in their last six matches on the road, and four of those were losses. Going up against a Nashville side who haven’t lost at Nissan Stadium since November 4, 2020, the matchup is intriguing.

Availability report

Pod Picks

Ben Wright

Score:  Nashville 2 – 0 New York
Scorers: Daniel Ríos, Aké Loba
MOTM:  Daniel Ríos
Bold Prediction:  NYCFC dominate possession but Loba comes off the bench to score in the last 10 minutes to seal the win for Nashville.

Davey Shepherd

Score:  Nashville 1 – 1 New York
Scorers: Hany Mukhtar
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction:  Nashville goes up early but concedes an equalizer before half.

Jonathan Slape

Score:  Nashville 1 – 1 New York
Scorers: Aké Loba
MOTM: Aké Loba
Bold Prediction:  New York scores early but Loba gets a late goal to keep Nashville’s home record intact

Andy Simmons

Score: Nashville 0 – 0 New York
MOTM: Dave Romney
Bold Prediction: Both teams combine for less than 10 shots on target.

Chris Ivey

Score:  Nashville 2 – 1 New York
Scorers: CJ Sapong, Hany Mukhtar
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Loba only gets 15 minutes off the bench.

Josh Young

Score:  Nashville 3 – 1 New York
Scorers: CJ Sapong, Hany Mukhtar, Dax McCarty
MOTM: Dax McCarty
Bold Prediction: Nashville takes an early lead and never gives it up (on you).

Lucas Panzica

Score:  Nashville 0 – 0 New York
MOTM: Joe Willis
Bold Prediction: fans of booth teams are left clawing their eyes out.

Fan Forecast

Kit matchup

Match Info

Teams:  Nashville SC (3rd) vs New York City FC (4th)
Power RankingsNashville SC (5th) vs New York City FC (1st)
Odds: Nashville (+165), Draw (+220), New York (+155) via BetMGM
Date: Friday, September 3
Time: 6:30 PM Central, Nissan Stadium, Nashville, Tennessee
Radio: 94.9 The Game 2 (English); El Jefe 96.7 (Spanish)
Forecast: 85°/65°. Partly cloudy. 10% chance of rain. 55% 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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