Preview: Nashville SC at Orlando City SC

Disappointly, Nashville SC lost their first match ever to FC Cincinatti by a score of 1-0. Today, the ‘Yotes are back on the road with a trip to the Sunshine State to take on Orlando City SC. Nashville will be looking to break their losing streak while Orlando looks to build off their win over Philadelphia.

Nashville SC

6th (East) | 7 points | 2-1-2 | +2 GD

Injuries / Absences:

Out: Nick DePuy (lower leg); Randall Leal (hamstring)

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Nashville SC enters this match after two consecutive defeats, having scored zero goals during that span. Against Cincinnati, Nashville clearly ran out of ideas and struggled to change the game off the bench.

As they head back out on the road, Gary Smith will be looking for ways to rectify the teams scoring issues on the road after having scored no goals away from home but with the personell on the roster how do you solve those issues?

Against Cincinnati, we saw C.J. Sapong make his return to the starting lineup in place of Teal Bunbury for the first time this season. The idea was to leverage his hold up ability to allow Hany Mukhtar to find space and play off Sapong. Unfortunately, Nashville struggled to get Mukhtar involved, resulting in a stunted offensive performance.

Against Orlando, Nashville has to get Mukhtar more involved and in positions to get shots on target. Mukhtar has two assists so far this season but has yet to register a goal, all while being limited to only three shots on target this season.

In the midfield, Aníbal Godoy is fully back from injury and came off the bench last week. I would expect to see him return to the starting lineup and provide a bit more of an attacking threat and ability to carry the ball through midfield.

Outside of the addition of Godoy to the midfield, there shouldn’t be any other changes in the starting lineup. We’ve seen Smith choose to use Alex Muyl on the road in place of Fafà Picault, but this is a much more defensive selection. Nashville will look to place on the counter and the verticality of Picault and Shaffelburg will be key to that.

Orlando City SC

4th (East) | 8 points | 2-2-1 | +1 GD

Injuries / Absences

Questionable: Ercan Kara (Right Thigh)

Last week, there was a lot of discussion about rivalries and who Nashville’s rivals are. After three years in the league, Orlando City is definitely up there. There have been some electric games between these two clubs and some controversial decions. I expect more of the same tonight.

The Lions… um, Sea Cows… have had a hectic start to the season with their participation in the Concacaf Champion’s League. Unfortunately they went out on away goals against Tigres after two impressive performances against one of the top sides in North America.

After a slow start to the season, Orlando bounced back last week, winning 2-1 over the reigning Eastern Conference champions Philadelphia Union. The win was all the more impressive with the number of players they were missing due to the international break. Unfortunately for Nashville, Orlando has a fairly clean bill of health. Facundo Torres and Pedro Gallese will be back in the starting lineup.

Orlando City will lineup in a 4-2-3-1 and look to control possession against Nashville. They’ll look to play out through their wingers, Facundo Torres and Dag­ur Þór­halls­son. There is also a chance we could see Iván Angulo after his fabulous performance last week.

Orlando has started to get their offense going and if that continues, Nashville could struggle to keep up.

Pod Picks

Andy Simmons

Score: Orlando 1-1 Nashville
Scorers: Hany Mukhtar
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Nashville has a higher amount of possession and xG,

Chris Ivey

Score: Orlando 1-0 Nashville
MOTM: Walker Zimmerman
Bold Prediction: Orlando scores from a set piece

Ben Wright

Score: Orlando 0-1 Nashville
Scorers: Hany Mukhtar
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Mukhtar scores a second-half penalty to give the ‘Yotes their first road win.

Jonathan Slape

Score: Orlando 1-1 Nashville
Scorers: Hany Mukhtar
MOTM: Anibal Godoy
Bold Prediction: Godoy’s return to the lineup solidifies the middle of the field along with providing the loan assist.

Valair Shabilla

Score: Orlando 0-0 Nashville
MOTM: Pedro Gallese
Bold Prediction: At least two extremely controversial referee decisions

Fan Forecast

Match Info

Teams: Orlando City SC v. Nashville SC
Odds: ORL (+140), Draw (+230), NSC (+180) via BetMGM
Date: Saturday, April 1
Time: 6:30 pm CDT, Exploria Stadium, Orlando, FL
TV: Apple TV – Free
Radio: 104.5 The Zone (English); El Jefe 96.7 (Spanish)
Forecast: 92°/71°. Partly Cloudy. 10% chance of rain. 49% 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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