Recap: Nashville respond to Leagues Cup heartbreak with whimper in Atlanta

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.

The XI

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.

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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.

Author: Ben Wrightis the Director of Soccer Content and a Senior MLS Contributor for Broadway Sports covering Nashville SC and the US National Team. Previously Ben was the editor and a founder of Speedway Soccer, where he has covered Nashville SC and their time in USL before journeying to Major League Soccer since 2018. Raised in Louisville, KY Ben grew up playing before a knee injury ended his competitive career. When he is not talking soccer he is probably producing music, drinking coffee or hanging out with his wife and kids. Mastodon

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