Nashville SC grind out scoreless stalemate in Chicago

Nashville SC stretched their hold on second place to six points with a scoreless draw against Chicago Fire FC at Soldier Field on Sunday afternoon.

Lineup

Head coach Gary Smith rotated his squad with an eye toward matches against Orlando City and New York City FC next week. Hany Mukhtar spent the afternoon on the bench, while CJ Sapong was given the day off as well.

Run of play

Neither side was able to create much from the run of play over the course of 90 minutes. Both managed a couple of half-chances from set pieces, with 17-year-old goalie Gabriel Slonina making an impressive reaction save to deny substitute Daniel Ríos late in the second half.

Joe Willis came off his line quickly at the death to unconventionally cut out a pass intended for Chicago’s Robert Berić, sealing a solid, if unspectacular, point on the road.

Big picture

It was an ugly game of soccer, and Gary Smith didn’t mince words after the match.

Smith went on to call it a “diabolical surface”, saying the conditions were the deciding factor in the choice to rest Mukhtar. Nashville went into the match looking for a point, rest for their star attackers, and no injuries, and came away with all three. They close off a three game road stretch with seven points, and head back to take Orlando City and New York City FC next week in a pair of crucial matches in the playoff race.

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