Preview: Nashville SC vs Toronto FC

In his sixth game in charge, interim head coach Rumba Munthali, will lead the Boys in Gold against Toronto. In classic Nashville SC fashion, he has accumulated a 1-3-1 record, and will be looking to get his second win. 

Head-to-head

Toronto FC
7th (East) | 30 points | 7W-3D-8L | -3 GD |
Last match: 4-1 loss vs. Chicago Fire
Power Rankings: 16th

Availability Report

OUT: Shane O’Neill (thigh), Brandon Servania (knee), Tyrese Spicer (lower back)
INTERNATIONAL DUTY: Sean Johnson (United States), Richie Laryea (Canada), Jonathan Osorio (Canada)

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“I don’t know, I mean I’m emotional. I am really emotional about this one. I’ve never been this disappointed in 30 years of my coaching career with women, men, youth teams [or] whatever. This one sucks.”

That’s what Toronto FC head coach John Herdman had to say after his side’s 4-1 loss to Chicago at home. Despite the most recent result, Herdman has completely revitalized Toronto FC. For more on how he did that, check out my preview from last month when these two sides met at GEODIS Park.

Toronto are in a bit of a slump at the moment, they have one win in their last seven MLS matches and have struggled even at home. The recent run showcases that it’s hard to turn things around in one season. Herdman and his coaching staff have done well to bring belief to a disjointed squad, but it’s clear that the Reds still need to add more quality.

One of Herdman’s most important attributes is his passion, which he has been able to pass on to the squad. While passion and playing with emotions can have a lot of positives on a team, it can also backfire.

Toronto have been shown the most yellow cards (57) in MLS this season. They also have the second most red cards (five). Two of those red cards were shown to their DP superstar Federico Bernardeschi.

Bernardeschi and his Italian compatriot Lorenzo Insigne have been performing to the level that was expected of them when signed. They’ve combined for 11 goals and eight assists this season and look the part.

Other than the Italians, Toronto has a good crop of hungry players who want to make an impact. German striker Prince Owusu has enjoyed spells of good form this season scoring six MLS goals. Former Libscomb Bison, and 2024 MLS SuperDraft first overall pick Tyrese Spicer has played an important part in Toronto’s success. Though Spicer might miss the game due to an injury, other important youngsters like Nicksoen Gomis and Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty, should be available for selection.

Like Nashville SC, Toronto will be missing three mainstays due to international duty. Sean Johnson (United States), Richie Laryea (Canada) and Jonathan Osorio (Canada) will not be available on Wednesday. In addition, Shane O’Neill and Brandon Servania are out due to a long term injury.

Nashville SC
9th (East) | 20 points | 4W-8D-5L | -2 GD |
Last match: 0-0 draw at New York Red Bulls
Power Rankings: 19th

Availability Report

OUT: Julian Gaines (ankle), Randall Leal (hip), Lukas MacNaughton (ankle)
INTERNATIONAL DUTY: Aníbal Godoy (Panama), Shaq Moore (United States), Jacob Shaffelburg (Canada)

While things in Nashville aren’t suddenly fixed, Rumba Munthali has been able to stabilize the results and performances. It’s about the most you can ask of an interim head coach with no previous experience in the role.

Other than a home loss to the New England Revolution, Nashville has three draws and a win with their interim coach. Most importantly, Munthali has been able to restore Nashville’s defensive acumen. In his five games in charge, Nashville have only conceded three goals and registered three clean sheets. In the previous 12 MLS games, Nashville had only kept two clean sheets. While injuries and other factors played a part in that, Munthali deserves credit for the recent defensive success.

Things aren’t going as smoothly on the other end of the pitch. Other than the 2-0 win in Cincinnati, Nashville have looked dull in attack. Even when chances are generated, Nashville seem to be missing that decisive touch that turns a regular chance to a dangerous one.

Nashville’s biggest names have not been at their best, especially in finishing. Following his hat trick against Montreal last month, Sam Surridge is yet to score another goal. Former league MVP Hany Mukhtar has also struggled in open play – his last non-penalty goal was against San Jose in late April.

The two Designated Players are not the only ones to blame for the attacking troubles. Nashville’s midfield has struggled to be more proactive and move the ball better. In addition, new signing Tyler Boyd has not been able to find the form he wanted to start his Nashville career.There’s no doubt that in order for Nashville to succeed, they need their star players as well as the supporting cast to be more clinical going forward.

Nashville will be without Jacob Shaffelburg (Canada), Shaq Moore (US) and Aníbal Godoy (Panama), due to their participation in Copa América. All three have played a huge part in Nashville’s season when healthy and available.

Pre-match quotes

Pod Picks

Chris Ivey

Score: Nashville 1-2 Toronto
Scorers: Zimmerrman
MOTM: Zimmerman
Bold Prediction: Motivated Toronto proves to be too much.

Ben Wright

Score: Nashville 1-1 Toronto
Scorers: Surridge
MOTM: Surridge
Bold Prediction: Nashville get a late penalty, controversy over who takes it ends with Surridge.

Jeff Remlinger

Score: Nashville 0-1 Toronto
Scorers:
MOTM: Willis
Bold Prediction: Another NSC bogey team on the road. This time luck isn’t on Nashville’s side.

Valair Shabilla

Score: Nashville 1-1 Toronto
Scorers: Yearwood
MOTM: Yearwood
Bold Prediction: Nashville have over 12 shots

Ronan Briscoe

Score: Nashville 0-1 Toronto
Scorers:
MOTM: Willis
Bold Prediction: A much less suspended Toronto capitalizes on home field advantage and Nashville concede late.

Fan Forecast

Match info

Teams: Nashville SC v. Toronto FC
Odds: TOR (+120), NSC (+215), Draw (+225) via DraftKings
Date: Wednesday, June 19, 2024
Referees: Chris Penso (Ref), Cory Richardson (AR1), Stefan Tanaka-Freundt (AR2), Filip Dukić (4th), Kevin Stott (VAR), Luis Garcia (AVAR)
Time: 6:30 pm CST, BMO Field, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
TV: MLS Season Pass – Apple TV
TV Commentators: Joe Tolleson & Greg Sutton (English), Jesus Acosta & Carlos Suarez (Spanish)
Radio: 104.5 The Zone
Radio Commentators: Lucas Panzica & Will Boling
Forecast: A few clouds. Low around 70ºF. Winds SW at 10 to 15 mph.

Author: Valair Shabillamoved to Nashville as a refugee from Iraq at the age of 14. A fan of soccer from a young age, he used soccer to connect with a larger community in Nashville and adapt to life abroad. He's covered Nashville SC since 2019, co-hosting Pharmaceutical Soccer, and analyzing soccer from an audio/video perspective.

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