Nashville SC ended their two match home stand with a 1-1 draw against Houston Dynamo. After a full week of rest, the Boys in Gold travel to Massachusetts to take on an inform New England Revolution. What can we expect from the match?
The draw against Houston was disappointing, not because it was a bad result, but because of the way in which it happened. Conceding a late goal due to two mistakes can be disheartening. One could argue that the mistake was not even the worst event of the game. After scoring his second goal, Daniel Ríos left the game with an injury, bringing the total number of fit strikers to zero.
The situation for Nashville became even more complicated on Saturday, with the club confirming a first-team player tested positive for Covid-19 earlier in the week.
INBOX: #NashvilleSC confirms a positive Covid-19 case. Upon receiving the positive test, training was cancelled until all other players/staff received two negative tests, and the match in New England is proceeding as scheduled. #EveryoneN pic.twitter.com/39h6Y4r3Ni— Ben Wright ? (@benwright) October 3, 2020
All other players and staff returned two negative PCR tests before resuming training, and the match is currently scheduled to proceed on Saturday night. Still, Nashville could be without as many as eight players, assuming the positive test was from a player not already listed on the injury report.
Against New England, Gary Smith is going to have a hard time putting together a lineup with forwards Dominique Badji, David Accam, Daniel Ríos, Abu Danladi all not medically cleared from previous injuries. Winger Alex Muyl is also not medically cleared as well. Jhonder Cádiz arrived in Nashville on Tuesday, but he will not be available to even practice until next week due to COVID protocols. There had been hope that a full week of rest would allow some injuries to heal but Saturday’s match may have just come a bit too soon.
In his prematch press conference, Coach Smith did say that he expected Danladi to heal so there is a chance that he is fit for Saturday. If not, we could see Randall Leal or even Derrick Jones up to for the Boys in Gold. Regardless of who starts up top, getting passed the New England defense will be a tall order.
The attack for Nashville will be a riddle for Gary Smith to solve but hoping that Abu Danladi can pass a late fitness test to be healthy. If Danladi can go, the wide positions become the next area of concerns. On this week’s podcast, Davey Shepherd, Ben Wright and myslef talked about how much we did not like to see Hany Mukhtar out wide, but with the injury to Muyl he may be forced to slide out to the right. This would allow Derrick Jones to slot in at the 10 with Randall Leal out on the left.
Behind the front four, Aníbal Godoy will return to the starting lineup and pair with Dax McCarty. New England is a team that like to have a bit more of the ball so McCarty and Godoy will have to opportunities to win the ball back and transition quickly. They will need to keep Lee Nguyen from having too much time on the ball and getting service to Gustavo Bou.
At the back, it will be much of the same for Nashville. Alistair Johnston should return to the right back position after getting some time off against Houston. However, if Danladi is unable to play we could see him pushed up to the right wing position.
New England Revolution
New England comes in to this match as one of the in form teams in the league. Sitting in fifth place, they are unbeaten in four of their last five matches and will prove to be a tough matchup for Nashville. A point from this match would be a good result for NSC.
The Revs are lead by former US National Team coach Bruce Arena. As with the national team they will be well drilled on both side of the ball and will look to hold on to possession. Nashville could have chances to catch them on the counter but will have to get through a stout New England defense and the best goalkeeper in the league.
On the offensive side of the ball, Gustavo Bou is the Revs primary goal threat along side Teal Bunbury. Bou had been asked to both create and finish the chances but the arrival of Lee Nguyen should be able to help take on the creative burden. Nashville will need to control the middle of the park and cut off the supply from Nguyen.
New England has a few injuries to contend with and will be without the service of Matt Polster in one of the defensive midfield slots. Arena will have to decide who he brings in to replace Polster. Against DC, Tommy McNamara replaced the injured Polster but in our Zoomed N series, Jake Catanese expects to see Kellyn Rowe start in that position.
NOT MEDICALLY CLEARED: David Accam, Dom Badji, Abu Danladi, Jimmy Medranda, Ken Tribbett, Alex Muyl, Daniel Ríos
New England Revolution
NOT MEDICALLY CLEARED: Alexander Büttner, Luis Caicedo, Carles Gil, Matt Polster
Score: New England 1 – 0 Nashville
MOTM: Derrick Jones
Bold Prediction: Nashville have just one shot on target
Score: New England 1 – 0 Nashville
MOTM: Daniel Lovitz
Bold Prediction: No shots on target for Nashville
Score: New England 1 – 1 Nashville
Scorers: Walker Zimmerman
MOTM: Aníbal Godoy
Bold Prediction: Godoy provides an assist for a late goal along with leading the team in tackles and interceptions.
Score: New England 0 – 1 Nashville
MOTM: Dave Romney
Bold Prediction: Nashville doesnt register a shot on goal.
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Teams: Nashville SC (8th place, 4-4-5) vs New England Revolution (5th place, 5-6-3)
Date: Saturday, 10/3/20
Time: 6:30 PM Central, Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts
TV: MyTV30, ESPN+ (out of market)
Radio: 94.9 The Game 2 (English); El Jefe 96.7 (Spanish)
Forecast: 68°/42°. Mostly Sunny. 10% chance of rain. 54% humidity.