Nashville SC traveled to Cincinnati, bouncing back from a loss to LAFC with a 1-1 draw against their rivals.
Hany Mukhtar missed the trip to Cincinnati, held out as a precaution with a knock suffered late in the week. Instead of inserting Aké Loba into the lineup, head coach Gary Smith opted to pair Teal Bunbury up front with CJ Sapong.
On the pitch
Teal Bunbury rewarded Smith after just six minutes.s The 13 year veteran got his first goal in gold with an overhead kick from two yards out to give Nashville the lead. The balance swung Cincinnati’s way after the goal, with the home side pushing for an equalizer.
Brandon Vazquez found that equalizer just after halftime. The striker, selected by Nashville in the 2020 MLS Expansion Draft and immediately traded, found the net for the 11th time this year, reacting first to a deflected shot and heading over Joe Willis.
Nashville found a couple half chances, but Cincinnati looked the more dangerous side after pulling level. Smith battened down the hatches with his substitutions, leaving Aké Loba and Shaq Moore on the bench to preserve the lead.
The ‘Yotes nearly gave up a winner late. Willis flapped at a corner and missed, nearly allowing Brenner to curl a shot in from close range, but Walker Zimmerman stepped up with a crucial block.
The big picture
While it wasn’t an inspiring attacking performance from the Boys In Gold, a point on the road against their biggest rival without their best player isn’t a poor result. They hold onto fifth place in the Western Conference, with a vital three match week on the horizon.