Recap: Nashville SC’s first foray into Concacaf Champions Cup ends in disappointment in Miami

Nashville SC’s first taste of continental competition ended in disappointment on Wednesday night. The Coyotes fell 3-1 to Inter Miami CF in Ft. Lauderdale, exiting the Concacaf Champions Cup in the Round of 16.

The XI

Gary Smith stuck with the back five he had used against LA Galaxy at the weekend, with a significant twist. Dan Lovitz, primarily a left back, shifted inside to play as a left center back, with Shaq Moore making a similar shift on the right.

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On the pitch

Tied 2-2 heading into the match, but with Miami leading on away goals, Nashville needed to strike early and force the hosts to open up. The opposite happened.

Luis Suárez opened the scoring after eight minutes, taking advantage of a sleepy offside trap to get behind Nashville’s backline and poke home with easy. Lionel Messi doubled the lead in the 23rd minute, inexplicably ghosting through the Coyotes’ defense to fire a shot in at the near post.

Smith reverted to a more typical back four at halftime, bringing on DP striker Sam Surridge and center back Josh Bauer, and notably leaving Jack Maher on the bench. The moves worked temporarily, giving Nashville a foothold and leading to a flurry of chances.

Miami grabbed a third, though, catching Nashville pushed high up in attack and again taking advantage of poor spacing on the back line. Nashville thought they had found a lifeline with 11 minutes to go before Hany Mukhtar’s strike was ruled out for offside, and by the time Surridge finally scored a goal that counted in the 93rd minute, the match was all but over.

The big picture

There’s no way to spin it as anything other than a massive disappointment for Nashville. After strong and attacking performance in the first leg, they really looked a match for Miami in the second, and carried over none of the positives. They were labored in attack until the second half, and even then their finishing was sloppy.

Obviously it’s been a brutal opening stretch to the season, and in a lot of ways clearing up their schedule and focusing solely on league play may help them in the long run. But it was a frustrating way to close out their first taste of Concacaf action, a tournament that may not come again in the near future for this team.

Stats

Stats

Possession: MIA 45% – 55% NSH
Passes completed: MIA 407 – 494 NSH
Shots: MIA 11 – 15 NSH
Shots on goal: MIA 5 – 3 NSH
Expected goals: MIA 1.12 – 1.53 NSH
Goals: MIA 3 – 1 NSH
Fouls: MIA 13 – 8 NSH
Yellow cards: MIA 0 – 1 NSH
Red cards: MIA 0 – 0 NSH

Post-match quotes

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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