Nashville SC talked all week about avoiding a Leagues Cup hangover after their defeat in the final to Inter Miami last weekend. That didn’t happen. Instead, they lost 4-0 on the road to Atlanta United, the worst loss they’ve suffered in 212 matches as a professional club.
Gary Smith kept his lineup mostly in tact. However, Walker Zimmerman missed the match with vaguely-described “lower body injury”, while Fafà Picault and Taylor Washington were suspended after their red cards against Cincinnati in Nashville’s last league game back in July.
On the pitch
Nashville started brightly, nearly opening the scoring in the opening three minutes through Jacob Shaffelburg. Things went downhill after, despite playing a mostly competitive first half.
MVP candidate and World Cup winner Thiago Almada was dominant, setting up Xande Silva for the opening goal, scoring a second less then a minute into the second half, and assisting Miles Robinson and Saba Lobzhanidze to cap off a dominant win for the Five Stripes.
The big picture
It was as flat a response to their Leagues Cup disappointment as Nashville could have offered. Once Atlanta took the lead, they never really looked up for the fight, and were completely out of the mix by the 60th minute.
Their Leagues Cup run was spectacular, genuinely the best seven-game stretch they’ve played as a club. But in MLS, they’ve lost six of their last seven matches, and now drop to seventh place in the Eastern Conference with nine games to go.
It doesn’t get any easier, with a trip to Miami on Wednesday. To add insult to injury, the Herons will have a special Leagues Cup trophy presentation before the game. Just a week after the high of a cup final, Nashville are in serious danger of losing out on a home playoff game.