Preview: Nashville SC vs San Jose Earthquakes

After their big 1-3 win away to the Colorado Rapids, Nashville SC and the rest of the league were off for the International break. Tonight, the Coyotes welcome the San Jose Earthquakes to GEODIS Park for their first time ever.

Can Nashville extend their home unbeaten streak to 22 games? Can San Jose get their first road win of the season?

Nashville SC

Current standing: 6th (West) | 6-4-4 | +2 GD
Injuries

OUT: Teal Bunbury (knee), Handwalla Bwana (thigh), Robert Castellanos (ankle), Randall Leal (ankle)
INTERNATIONAL DUTY: Aníbal Godoy, Walker Zimmerman

The month of May was one of excitement for the Boys in Gold as they opened GEODIS Park, and advanced to the Quarterfinals of the US Open Cup, all while playing eight competitive matches. While they may have wanted to continue after a big road win against the Rapids, the break comes at a good time.

Tonight, they welcome the Earthquakes to Nashville as they look to get revenge for the 2-2 draw earlier this season. Nashville came out in that match and went ahead on two separate occasions but couldn’t close out the win after giving up a second-half equalizer.

During the eight-game run in May, we saw Coach Gary Smith rotate quite a bit to avoid fatigue and injury. Aníbal Godoy and Randall Leal both missed time and in Leal’s case are still out due to injury. Smith will not only have to deal with a few injuries but with the International Break going into next week, will be without Godoy and Walker Zimmerman.

Even with the absences, how Nashville line up and play will not be a surprise.

With the absence of Randall Leal, Luke Haakenson has come in on several occasions to play that linking piece between the midfield and attack due to his defensive capabilities. However, I expect to see a tweak in the formation with a more straightforward from three. C.J. Sapong will play as the center forward with Hany Mukhtar and Aké Loba on either side of him.

The absence of Walker Zimmerman for the match will loom large for the backline. We have seen them struggle at times without Zimmerman’s ability to organize the centerbacks alongside him. I would expect to see Jack Maher slide to the middle next to Dave Romney with Eric Miller as the right-sided centerback. The one positive, is that it gives Gary Smith some added flexibility and ability to switch to a back four without making any substitutions.

San Jose Earthquakes

Current standing: 13th (West) | 3-5-6 | -7 GD
Injuries

QUESTIONABLE: Oskar Agren (calf), Jackson Yueill (thigh)
OUT: George Asomi (ankle), Gilbert Fuentes (personal), Chofis (personal)
INTERNATIONAL DUTY: Ousseni Bouda, Francisco Calvo, Marcos Lopez, Emi Ochoa, Niko Tsakiris

Following the last match between these two teams, Matías Almeyda was relieved of his head coaching responsibilities as youth coach Alex Covelo stepped in as the interim coach.

Since the appointment of Covelo, the Earthquakes have begun to turn their season around with a 3-2-2 record. They picked up their first wins of the season and advanced to the Round of 16 in the Open cup before falling to Sacramento Republic.

While they have been able to get results, they still struggle to keep the ball out of the back of the net. through 14 games, they have given up 32 goals and have the worst defensive record in the league. Covelo will have his hands full trying to keep a red hot Hany Mukhtar off of the scoresheet.

If the Earthquakes have any chance of getting a result tonight, it will be down to the performances of Jeremy Ebobisse and Christian Espinoza. Ebobisse is currently tied for the top of the Golden Boot race with nine goals, while Espinoza is tied for the lead in assists with seven. If Nashville can shut them down, they should come out with the win.

Pod picks

Andy Simmons

Score: Nashville 3 – 0 San Jose
Scores: Hany Mukhtar x2, Aké Loba
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Mukhtar scores a goal on a free kick.

Jonathan Slape

Score: Nashville 4 – 1 San Jose
Scorers: Hany Mukhtar x2, Aké Loba, C.J. Sapong
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Loba gets a goal and an assist in the first half.

Chris Ivey

Score: Nashville 3 – 2 San Jose
Scorers: Hany Mukhtar x2, C.J. Sapong
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: We see a 90th minute debut for Ahmed Longmire.

Ben Wright

Score: Nashville 3 – 0 San Jose
Scorers: Hany Mukhtar (x3)
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Aké Loba starts.

Fan Forecast

Match Info

Teams: Nashville SC vs San Jose Earthquakes
Odds: Nashville (-145), Draw (+290), San Jose (+360) via BetMGM
Date: Saturday, June 11
Time: 7:00 PM Central, GEODIS Park, Nashville, Tennessee
TV: TUDN, Twitter
Radio: iHeartRadio Online (English); El Jefe 96.7 (Spanish)
Forecast: 87°/67°. Mostly Sunny 0% chance of rain. 54% humidity

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