Preview: Nashville SC vs Real Salt Lake

Last week, Nashville SC opened up GEODIS Park with a comeback 1-1 draw with the Philadelphia Union. Today, they welcome Real Salt Lake to town as they look for both revenge for the 2-1 win and their first win at GEODIS Park.

Can Nashville get their offense clicking against an injured RSL side? Will Salt Lake prevent Nashville from getting their first win?

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Nashville SC

Current standing: 9th (West) | 3-3-3 | -1 GD

OUT: Josh Bauer (calf), Teal Bunbury (knee), Robert Castellanos (ankle), Koze Donasiyano (adductor), Aníbal Godoy (thigh)

Last week was both the culmination and the beginning of a New Era for the Boys in Gold. They finally opened up their new home in front of a raucous sold-out crowd at GEODIS Park. The atmosphere was incredible, but unfortunately, they were only able to secure a draw against the Union.

Today, they will look to get that first win in front of the home crowd against an inconsistent Salt Lake team.

Against the Union, we saw an almost identical lineup from the previous two weeks with the lone change being Dax McCarty returning to the midfield for Aníbal Godoy who was out with a hamstring injury. While the formation was similar, the tactics were a bit different. We saw the wingbacks push up a bit higher while Leal dropped a little bit deeper to link up between the midfield and attack.

Nashville were unlucky to hit the post twice and were denied another by Andre Blake. In most instances, Nashville goes into half time up a goal or two.

Against Salt Lake, I would expect to see a similar lineup and tactics from Coach Smith. While Godoy is still unavailable due to injury, Nashville is still relatively healthy. The one wrinkle in any lineup decision is the fact that Nashville has a midweek Open Cup Match against Atlanta United.

Real Salt Lake

Current standing: 5th (West) | 4-4-2 | -3 GD

QUESTIONABLE: Damir Kreilach (back), Sergio Cordova (knee)
OUT: Zack Farnsworth (ankle), Bret Halsey (ankle), Erik Holt (foot), Johan Kappelhof (calf), Jonathan Menendez (adductor)

Real Salt Lake has had a very interesting start to the season. On one hand, they have had some big crucial wins against the likes of the Seattle Sounders, Nashville SC, and most recently, the LA Galaxy.

On the other hand, they lost to USL League One side Northern Colorado Hailstorm in the Open Cup along with an embarrassing 6-0 loss to New York City FC.

What RSL team will Nashville face at GEODIS Park this afternoon?

Pablo Mastroeni got the better of his former coach earlier this season as he deployed a 3-4-2-1 against the Yotes. His team was able to find opportunities on set pieces while keeping the Nashville forwards isolated in the attack. Today, Mastroeni has several injury issues to worry about and I expect him to stick with the four man defensive backline with the injury to Johan Kappelhof.

Much like the earlier matchup RSL is missing some key attacking pieces. Damir Kreilach has been one of the key focal points to the RSL attack over the past few seasons but has struggled for fitness this season. He has been dealing with a back issue the past few weeks and has been out since the 6-0 loss to NYCFC. He is listed questionable for this afternoon’s match but would not expect to see him from the start.

The biggest question for today’s match-up is if we see Jefferson Savarino make an appearance. Savarino is a Venezuelan winger that played at RSL through the 2019 season but has spent the past few at Atlético Mineiro in Brazil. He was resigned this past week as a DP and if he is available, will be a dangerous threat against Nashville’s wingbacks.

Pod picks

Andy Simmons

Score: Nashville 2 – 0 Salt Lake
Scores: Hany Mukhtar, Aké Loba
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Loba gets 15 minutes on the field and scores.

Lucas Panzica

Score: Nashville 2 – 1 Salt Lake
Scorers: Walker Zimmerman, Hany Mukhtar
MOTM: Walker Zimmerman
Bold Prediction: Nashville concedes a set-piece goal

Jonathan Slape

Score: Nashville 3 – 1 Salt Lake
Scorers: Hany Mukhtar, Randall Leal, Aké Loba
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Mukhtar opens the scoring and picks up an assist as well

Ben Wright

Score: Nashville 2 – 0 Salt Lake
Scorers: Hany Mukhtar, Randall Leal
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Nashville has close to 3.0 xG

Fan Forecast

Match Info

Teams: Nashville SC vs Real Salt Lake
Odds: Nashville (-150), Draw (+250), Salt Lake (+450) via BetMGM
Date: Sunday, May 8
Time: 4:00 PM Central, GEODIS Park, Nashville, Tennessee
Radio: iHeartRadio Online (English); El Jefe 96.7 (Spanish)
Forecast: 75°/57°. Mostly Sunny 2% chance of rain. 70% 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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