Preview: Nashville SC v Orlando City SC

Nashville SC wrapped up their roadtrip with a disappointing 0-0 draw against Chicago Fire FC. Tonight, they return to Nissan Stadium to face Orlando City. Will Nashville bounce back? Can Orlando break their four game losing streak?

Nashville SC

After an extended road trip, Nashville returns to Nissan Stadium and looks to get back to their winning ways against a struggling Orlando City.

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Against Chicago, Gary Smith choose to put out a rotated team do to the number of games and the state of the pitch at Soldier Field. C.J. Sapong and Hany Mukhtar got some well-deserved time off, likely with an eye for this week’s action. I expect to see Nashville back to full strength for the next two matches, both of which are proverbial “six pointers”.

Nashville has a real opportunity to begin to build a bigger gap between themselves and the teams third through fifth especially with Orlando and New York City FC being the next two opponents.

Jack Maher has really established himself as a reliable member of the starting lineup, pushing into a significant role on the right side of the back three. When Dan Lovitz played as an inverted right wingback, Smith often played a natural right back like Eric Miller or Alistair Johnston in a right centerback role, but now that Johnston has moved back to a wingback role, Maher is a logical choice.

He’s defensively strong, good in the air, and an underrated passer. He’s turned into a great complimentary piece next to Walker Zimmerman.

Hany Mukhtar has been on MVP-level form. With him rested and healthy, CJ Sapong and Randall Leal continuing their productivity, and legitimate attacking options off the bench like Aké Loba, Jhonder Cádiz and Daniel Ríos, this side is formidable going forward.

With only three matches left at home, Nashville absolutely has to get three points.

Orlando City

Oscar Pareja’s team is in a bit of a slump. They have lost four straight matches against teams around them in the table and have fallen out of the home playoff spots. They will come into tonight’s match looking to break that losing streak and begin to climb back up the table.

When these two teams played each other in August, Pareja was dealing with a long injury list and while they are still missing a few players, they have some key players back.

Moutinho and Ruan have both faced long injury layoffs during this season but are now available and are starting to return to form. They will be key for this team that is looking to get back into rythm.

Up top, Darryl Dike has returned and got back to scoring this past weekend against New England. He has looked much more like the player who was knocking them in at Barnsley than post Gold Cup Dike. Nashville’s defense will have to stop service into him if they want a win out of tonight’s match.

Orlando looked like a clear front runner to start the season, but their mid-season form dropped off significantly. They’re in fifth place in the table, but have only four points between themselves and Columbus Crew in ninth.

As difficult as Nashville’s remaining schedule is, Orlando will come into the match even more desperate for points. They’re in poor form and have little to no room for error. They need three points before a really tough stretch of games, playing three playoff sides in their next four matches.

Availability report

Pod Picks

Ben Wright

Score: Nashville 2-0 Orlando
Scorers: C.J. Sapong, Ake Loba
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Loba comes off the bench and scores late

Jonathan Slape

Score: Nashville 2-0 Orlando
Scorers: C.J. Sapong, Hany Mukhtar
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Hany returns to the starting Line up and puts in a team of the week performance

Andy Simmons

Score: Nashville 1-1 Orlando
Scorers: Hany Mukhtar
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Late equalizers for Orlando

Chris Ivey

Score: Nashville 3-1 Orlando
Scorers:  Hany Mukhtar (x2), Jhonder Cadiz
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Nani scores a goalazo

Josh Young

Score: Nashville 5-2 Orlando
Scorers: Hany Mukhtar (x2), C.J. Sapong (x2), Luke Haakenson
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Dike Remembers how much he enjoyed scoring against Nashville last season and gets two.

Fan Forecast

Kit matchup

Match Info

Teams: Nashville SC (2nd) vs Orlando City SC (5th)
Power Rankings Nashville SC (2) vs Orlando City SC (16)
Odds: Nashville (-160), Draw (+280), Orlando (+400) via BetMGM
Date: Wednesday, September 29
Time: 7:30 PM Central, Nissan Stadium, Nashville, Tennessee
TV:  MyTV 30 (local), ESPN+ (out of market)
Radio: 94.9 The Game 2 (English); El Jefe 96.7 (Spanish)
Forecast: 86°/63°. Sunny. 0% chance of rain. 59% 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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