Preview: Toronto FC vs Nashville SC

Nashville picked up their second road win of the season last week, beating CF Montréal 1-0. Tonight, the Boys in Gold head back to Canada as they look to pick up a win against last place Toronto FC. Can Nashville pick up their third straight win on the road? Can Toronto once again frustrate Nashville at BMO Field?


Toronto FC

Toronto FC projected XI

Toronto FC find themselves in the midst of an awful run of form. Winless in their last nine matches, including 6 straight losses, they are firmly rooted to the bottom of the East. They will feel a bit hard done by after the match on Wednesday against Miami and look to get at least a point tonight at BMO Field.

Javier Pérez has had his work cut out for him since taking over for Chris Armas in July and he currently finds himself in the midst of an injury crisis. Seven TFC players will be missing tonight due to injuries, as well as Kemar Lawrence, who is out due to the red card he picked up against Miami.

Both of Toronto’s first-choice strikers are out. Ayo Akinola tore his ACL at the Gold Cup, while Jozy Altidore will miss tonight with an unspecified injury. Dom Dwyer is the likely option to start up top in their absence.

Dwyer has been mostly a non-factor so far. He’s played just over 400 minutes and has only managed six shots. He’ll always put in a shift on both sides of the ball, and despite his relative lack of height, he’ll battle Walker Zimmerman for everything in the air.

In midfield, Michael Bradley still has the quality to pull the strings, but he can’t cover ground like he used to. Marky Delgado does a lot of the defensive dirty work, and if Nashville can isolate Bradley and target him in individual battles, there’s space to exploit in midfield.

With their current run of form and key absences, Nashville are the heavy favorites to get three points.

Nashville SC

The midweek round of fixtures were quite kind to Nashville SC. Not only were they the only Eastern Conference team that was off, several of their top four rivals dropped points. Orlando City were beaten handily by Montréal and NYCFC only picked up a point against FC Dallas. Nashville find themselves with the opportunity to begin putting some distance between themselves and their nearest rivals.

Nashville SC projected XI

Much like the previous week, head coach Gary Smith finds himself with clean injury report but with the added boost of Dax McCarty back from his red card suspension. Smith will need to take full advantage of his squad as he must prepare for five matches in the next 15 days.

We haven’t seen Aké Loba get a start since the away match against New England, but the match up against Toronto could prove to be the perfect opportunity to hand Loba another starting opportunity. Smith could instead decide to go with Daniel Ríos but regardless, CJ Sapong is a lock to start when healthy, and should get another runout to add to his nine goals on the season.

In the midfield, we should see Dax McCarty slot straight back in to the starting lineup after his broadcasting stint. McCarty will more than likely pair with Anibal Godoy as they look to control the midfield against a depleted Toronto FC.

Alistair Johnston was rested following his return from international duty but expect to see him return to the starting lineup against Toronto as a right sided center back. We have seen him play this position for Canada and with the continued success of the Taylor Washington and Daniel Lovitz fullback pairing, it gets him onto the field.

Johnston can also push forward into the attack while Lovitz inverts into more central areas, creating overloads down Toronto’s left side. It’s a tactic we’ve seen from Smith since the USL days, and it’s worked really well for them since their 2-0 win in Atlanta.


Injury report


Pod picks

Ben Wright

Score: Montréal 1 – 2 Nashville
Scorers: Dave Romney, Aké Loba
MOTM: Aké Loba
Bold Prediction: Loba scores the winner in the last 10 minutes

Andy Simmons

Score: Toronto1 – 2 Nashville
Scorers: C.J. Sapong, Randall Leal
MOTM: Randall Leal
Bold Prediction: Mukhtar continues his renown MVP campaign with two assists

Jonathan Slape

Score: Toronto 0 – 2 Nashville
Scorers: C.J. Sapong Hany Mukhtar
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Mukhtar gets a goal an assist and earns himself another team of the week selection

Chris Ivey

Score: Toronto 0 – 2 Nashville
Scorers: Hany Mukhtar, Daniel Ríos
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction:  Dominating defensive performance. Nashville holds Toronto under .5 xG

Davey Shepherd

Score: Toronto 0 – 2 Nashville
Scorers: Daniel Ríos, C.J. Sapong
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Mukhtar gets two assits


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Kit matchup

Match Info

Teams:  Toronto FC (14th) vs Nashville SC ( 2nd )
Power Rankings Toronto FC (27th) vs Nashville SC (3rd)
Odds:  Toronto (+180), Draw (+240), Nashville (+135) via BetMGM
Date: Saturday, September 18
Time: 6:30 PM Central, BMO Field, Toronto, Ontario
TV:  MyTV30, ESPN+ (out of Market)
Radio: 94.9 The Game 2 (English); El Jefe 96.7 (Spanish)
Forecast: 74°/56°. Sunny. 1% chance of rain. 66% humidity

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