Recap: Nashville disappointing once again in loss to Charlotte

Nashville SC couldn’t replicate their form from last week, falling 1-0 to Charlotte FC in a flat and unimaginative away performance.

The XI

On the Bank of America turf, Walker Zimmerman was left on the bench as a precaution, while Jacob Shaffelburg was also rested ahead of their two home matches next week.

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Tyler Boyd made his first start since the 5-0 loss against LAFC on March 23, while Shaq Moore made the squad for the first time since suffering an injury in the same match.

On the pitch

This match wasn’t anything to write home about. The two sides combined for just 13 shots and 0.77 expected goals between them, as drab of an attacking performance as you’ll ever seen in MLS. Nashville didn’t manage a shot inside the box for the entire match, and seemed more than happy with the idea of a 0-0 draw.

Patrick Agyemang had other ideas, catching both Walker Zimmerman and Jack Maher out of position and slow to react before rifling a left-footed shot into the side netting.

The 23-year-old has been a handful for MLS defenses throughout his breakout 2024 campaign. But worryingly for Nashville, Zimmerman was physically bullied off the ball on a few occasions by the striker, a rarity for the three-time defender of the year.

Nashville had no ideas outside of throwing crosses at Sam Surridge, and without Jacob Shaffelburg in the starting lineup, they weren’t even able to do that. They finished the match without ever posing a threat in the final third.

The big picture

The numbers say it all. Nashville’s five shots were their second-lowest ever in MLS play. Their 0.20 xG was their lowest ever. They touched the ball just 10 times inside the penalty area. It was as bleak as it has ever been for this team.

With a close to full-strength roster to choose from, Gary Smith can’t fall back on injuries as the excuse, especially against a Charlotte side that didn’t have a single Designated Player in their roster. Nashville’s 4-1 win last weekend was maybe less of a reminder of what this team could be, and more of a reminder of what they used to be. Charlotte and the mounting evidence from the last 10 months are building a strong case that this current iteration of Nashville is the reality now. Gary Smith and this squad are running out of time to prove otherwise.

Post-match quotes

Stats

Possession: CLT 53% – 47% NSH
Passes completed: CLT 398 – 355 NSH
Shots: CLT 8 – 5 NSH
Shots on goal: CLT 2 – 2 NSH
Penalty kicks: CLT 0 – 0 NSH
Expected goals: CLT 0.57 – 0.20 NSH
Goals: CLT 1 – 0 NSH
Fouls: CLT 16 – 10 NSH
Yellow cards: CLT 2 – 3 NSH
Red cards: CLT 0 – 0 NSH

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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