Preview: Nashville SC vs Seattle Sounders

After a 1-1 draw on the road, Nashville SC is back at Geodis Park to take on the Seattle Sounders. The ‘Yotes qualify for the playoffs tonight with a win or several other scenarios. Can they take care of business at home? Will Seattle be able to get a much-needed result on the road?

Nashville SC

7th (East) | 44 points | 12-8-9 | +8 GD |
Power Rankings: 11

Injuries / Absences:

Questionable: Lukas MacNaughton (lower body)
Nick DePuy (Achilles)

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Nashville SC went into last week’s game against San Jose with the opportunity to qualify for the playoffs. All the other results went their way but the Boys in Gold were unable to get the win on the road. Tonight they have another opportunity, the easiest way is just by defeating the Sounders.

With five games left, Nashville hits what is easily their toughest run of matches in the league. After taking on the Sounders, their next three are home to Orlando, away to Philadelphia, and home to New England. Nashville needs to get results in these matches if they want a chance of better seeding in the playoffs.

The past few matches have seen Nashville deal with a host of small injuries that have kept Gary Smith from being able to get his first-choice team on the field. And as a result, they’ve looked a bit disjointed at times. However, it seems that the team is starting to get close to fully fit. Smith said that only Lukas MacNaughton is dealing with injury.

In his pre-match press conference, Smith talked about how these last five matches are going to focus on getting Sam Surridge and Randall Leal back up to speed and reintegrated back into the squad. Both saw minutes off the bench in San Jose and at least one should get the start tonight.

The key areas where we will see changes from the San Jose game are of course goalkeeper, midfield, and attack. Willis was rested against the Earthquakes and could slot right back into the starting lineup. Panicco has been sold when called on, though, and makes a case for further inclusion every time he plays. It’s an interesting decision for Smith to make this late in the season.

In the attack, Sam Surridge will make his return to the starting lineup for the first time since the Atlanta United game. He will have his hands full with the Seattle backline and it will be an interesting battle between him and Yeimar of Seattle. If he can link up well with Mukhtar, they should find a couple of goals.

In the midfield, I think we see a return to the midfield that took them to the Leagues Cup. McCarty was rested last weekend and will come back into the no. 6 role. He will have to cut off supply to Albert Rusnack and ensure Seattle can’t play in transition. At the sides of the diamond, Anibal Godoy and Alex Muyl will help facilitate play and press when needed.

If Nashville can find their Leagues Cup form, they can get a win tonight.

Seattle Sounders FC

3rd (West) | 45 points | 12-9-9 | +6 GD |
Power Rankings: 9

Injuries / Absences:

Questionable: Cody Baker (concussion protocol), Albert Rusnák (illness)
Sota Kitahara (left quad strain)
Suspended: Nouhou (yellow card accumulation)

The Western Conference has been down year as many of the traditional powerhouses have struggled to put together results. Seattle maybe third in the West, but they only have one more point than Nashville.

However, they’re in the midst of a five-match unbeaten run. They have struggled with injuries this season but like Nashville are getting healthy at the right time. They need to continue that run of results as they look to solidify their position in the table.

The Sounders playoff qualifying scenario is very simple, win and they are in. However, the Sounders have never beaten Nashville. Will tonight be a first?

Brian Schmetzer will set this Seattle team up in a 4-2-3-1 that will look to limit attacking chances in transition through both their sitting midfielders and they standout performance of Yeimar. They have been the second-best defensive team in the league behind Nashville. Also like Nashville, they have not been an attacking force with only Jordan Morris scoring double-digit goals.

The Sounders have had a full 10 days of rest and will more than likely go with an unchanged lineup from their 1-2 win over Colorado. The only potential change is Christian Roldan who is still listed as questionable with concussion issues.

Jordan Morris has been the main goal scorer for the Sounders but left winger, Léo Chú is having a break outseason. The U-22 winger leads the team with eight assists and has chipped in with five goals. His presence could pin Shaq Moore back and limit his opportunities to bomb forward.

At the back Yeimar has continued to be one of the best centrebacks in the league, he is a physical presence in the air but really excels at cutting out attacks on the ground. He leads the league in interceptions and will prove crucial to Seattle’s success against Nashville.

Pod Picks

Chris Ivey

Score: Nashville 2-0 Seattle
Scorers: Hany Mukhtar, Fafà Picault
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Seattle less than .5 xG

Ben Wright

Score: Nashville 2-0 Seattle
Scorers: Sam Surridge (x2)
MOTM: Sam Surridge
Bold Prediction: Nashville take 10+ more shots than Seattle

Jonathan Slape

Score: Nashville 3-1 Seattle
Scorers: Hany Mukhtar, Sam Surridge, Randall Leal
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Leal gets a goal off of the bench.

Valair Shabilla

Score: Nashville 3-1 Seattle
Scorers: Hany Mukhtar (x2), Jacob Shaffelburg
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Nashville has over 55% possession

Fan Forecast

Press Conference: Match Day -2

Sounder At Heart preview

Nos Audietis preview pod

Match info

Teams: Nashville SC v. Seattle Sounders FC
Odds: NSH (+105), Draw (+225), SEA (+260) via BetMGM
Date: Saturday, September 30
Time: 7:30 pm CDT, GEODIS Park, Nashville, Tennessee
TV: Apple TV
Radio: 104.5 The Zone (English); El Jefe 96.7 (Spanish)
Forecast: 86°/60°. Clear. 3% chance of rain. 95% 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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