Preview: Nashville SC v New York Red Bulls

After a controversial 1-1 draw against Orlando city SC, Nashville returns home to Nissan Stadium for Decision Day. Tomorrow, they face an in form New York Red Bulls team that is looking to qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs.

Can Nashville secure a second place finish? Will New York find a way to make the playoffs?


Nashville SC

Nashville SC secured their home playoff spot on Wednesday night with Atlanta’s 0-0 draw against New York Red Bulls. Tomorrow, the Boys in Gold have the opportunity to finish as high as second place. However, they will need a little bit of help.

Currently, the Philadelphia Union sit in second place and travel to Yankee Stadium to place New York City FC. The Union have the edge on Nashville via tiebreaker (number of wins). Nashville has to better Philadelphia’s result in order to secure that second place finish.

Nashville have been undefeated at home so far this season. Can they close it out with a result against a motivated Red Bulls team?

Nashville has been without their captain, Dax McCarty for the the past three matches and while they have done well to plug the gap, there has been a definite drop off when he and Aníbal Godoy are not together in the middle of the pitch.

In the pre-match press conference, Coach Gary Smith said that McCarty is “in great shape and no reason why he shouldn’t be part of the equation”. Nashville will need his ability to help win possession and dictate play against a Red Bulls team that will pack the midfield and look to restrict options.

Against Atlanta, we saw how this Red Bull team is able to suffocate an opponent and limit their opponents opportunities. If Nashville going to be able to secure a win, the forward line will have to make the most of the few chances that they get. Randall Leal sit behind Hany Mukhtar and C.J. Sapong and help carry the ball up the field. He also will look to be a late runner into the box when either Mukhtar or Sapong drift out wide with ball.

At the back, we have a bit of rotation, specifically at the left Wingback position. Eric Miller made an appearance out on the left against Orlando with Daniel Lovitz still dealing with a foot injury and Taylor Washington in health and Safety protocols. While defensively sound, there was a noticeable drop off in attacking play down the left hand side.

New York Red Bulls

Of the two teams, New York Red Bulls have the most to play for in the Decision day match up. Their 0-0 draw against Atlanta United, left them just above the playoff line. A draw against Nashville secures their playoff spot for the 12th straight season and could even find themselves in a home play off spot with a win and a few other results.

For a full break down of the play off permutations for the Red Bulls and everyone else, check out this guide over at MLS.

Gerhard Struber’s team has found form at the absolute right time. Just a few months ago, they found themselves well below the playoff line. Starting with 0-4 win against Inter Miami on September 17th, the Red Bulls wen on an impressive 8 match unbeaten run to get themselves into play off contention.

The cornerstone of Red Bulls current form has been their defensive solidity with six shutout in their last nine. They are far from a free flowing attacking side but when you are able to limit opportunities, you are always going to have a chance to earn a result. however, they are are going to have to earn that result tomorrow with out Patrick Klimala.

Klimala picked up a yellow card in the 51st minute against Atlanta that will see him miss out due to yellow card accumulation. Struber will more than likely call upon Daniel Royer to fill in that spot.

Red Bulls are historic for their high press and difficulty to play against. They’ll put pressure on Nashville near midfield, and will limit their ability to control possession from midfield, forcing them wide. Over the last five matches, they’ve won four and lost just one. Only New England is in better form. They’ll be as difficult a side as Nashville have faced this season.

Availability report

Pod Picks

Ben Wright

Score: Nashville 3-1 New York
Scorers: Hany Mukhtar (x2), Aké Loba
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: NYCFC beat Philadelphia and Nashville takes second

Jonathan Slape

Score: Nashville 4-1 New York
Scorers: Hany Mukhtar, Randall Leal, Aké Loba (x2)
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: New York keeps it close until Loba scores two late off the bench.

Andy Simmons

Score: Nashville 2-0 New York
MOTM: Randall Leal, Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Leal has a banger from outside the box

Davey Shepherd

Score: Nashville 3-1 New York
Scorers: Hany Mukhtar, C.J. Sapong, Randall Leal
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Hany finishes with a goal and a pair of assists to end the season with 30 G+A

Fan Forecast

Kit matchup

Match Info

Teams: Nashville SC (3rd) vs New York Red Bulls (7th)
Power Rankings: Nashville SC (5) vs New York Red Bulls (9)
Odds: Nashville (+140), Draw (+195), New York (+200) via BetMGM
Date: Sunday, November 7
Time: 2:30 PM Central, Nissan Stadium, Nashville, Tennessee
TV: ESPN
Radio: 94.9 The Game 2 (English); El Jefe 96.7 (Spanish)
Forecast: 64°/34°. Sunny. 10% chance of rain. 56% humidity

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