Nashville SC keep rolling late in the season, beating Montreal Impact 1-0 on the road to all but guarantee a spot in the postseason. Playing at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ, Nashville played on the front foot for large stretches of the match and fully deserved the points.
After rotating against New England, Gary Smith picked closed to a first choice team, with Hany Mukhtar still out with a hamstring injury.
As has become custom, Nashville started the match on the front foot, dictating possession and holding the ball for long stretches in Montreal’s half. Daniel Ríos, Randall Leal and Alex Muyl all had opportunities to open the scoring, and Nashville put pressure on Montreal’s defense all throughout the first half.
It was Muyl and Leal who combined for the crucial goal. After drawing a foul in midfield, Muyl was quick to recognize the moment, playing a quick free kick past a static Montreal defense into the path of Leal. The winger took a quick touch to round Clement Diop before finishing emphatically with his weaker left foot.
Fresh off a team-of-the-week nod, the designated player continued his good run of form. With the finish against Montreal, he’s scored twice and assisted another two in Nashville’s last three matches.
In the second half, Nashville picked up where they left off. Walker Zimmerman had a header cleared off the line, and substitute Jhonder Cádiz saw an effort saved from close range.
Montreal thought they had saved a point late in the match. Bojan played a line-breaking pass through Nashville’s defense to Romel Quioto, who was able to get on the wrong side of Alistair Johnston and finish past a sprawling defender. The assistant referee judged Quioto to be offside, though, and the goal was called back.
Nashville had to endure a tense few minutes to finish the match, as Montreal through numbers forward, but their defense was able to hold on and preserve a massive three points on the road.
With the win, Nashville move into seventh place in the East, just one point behind New England Revolution.
A loss from Inter Miami and a loss or draw from Atlanta United in their matches tomorrow night would clinch a playoff spot for Nashville SC. The Boys In Gold would be just the fifth expansion team to qualify for the postseason in their first year.
Shots: Montreal 6 – 16 Nashville
Shots on goal: Montreal 2 – 6 Nashville
Expected goals: Montreal 0.73 – 1.74 Nashville
Goals: Montreal 0 – 1 Nashville
Possession: Montreal 52.1% – 47.9% Nashville
Yellow cards: Montreal 3 – 1 Nashville
Red cards: Montreal 0 – 0 Nashville