Nashville SC once again came back late to earn an exciting result. And once again, Nashville SC took just a single point from a home match in which they were the better side.
Playing for the third time in eight days, the Boys In Gold took the field at Nissan Stadium against CF Montréal. It was slow going through the opening forty five minutes. Despite having nearly 58% of the ball and nine shots, Nashville SC managed only one attempt on goal. Everything in the final third appeared just a bit labored.
The best chance of the first half came for CJ Sapong, who was able to turn a Montréal turnover into a chance in tight quarters, but goalkeeper James Pantemis was up for the task. Dax McCarty found himself on the receiving end of multiple free kicks, but his flicked on headers were never able to find their man. That was the story of the opening stanza; too many balls with good delivery not finding their way home.
The second half played out much the same way for the opening twenty minutes. More of the ball for Nashville, and more shots that were relatively harmless. The exception was a deflected Godoy attempt that required a full stretch from Pantemis to force it wide.
A Montréal corner kick against the run of play led to the first goal of the evening for the visitors. Kiki Struna was able to out maneuver Sapong at the top of the box, and his effort found the back of the net. With under a third of the game remaining Gary Smith went to his bench to make three changes at once, all with the intent of getting more people forward. Brian Anunga came on for McCarty allowing Godoy to drive up the field. Abu Danladi and Randall Leal replaced Luk Haakenson and Alex Muyl respectively. The changes certainly had the desired effect.
More of the ball in danger areas followed for Nashville, the most dangerous one being a flicked corner from Romney that found Danladi at the back post. Again Pantemis was up to the task. Soon after, Smith threw out his last two changes. Fan favorite and 2020 top scorer Daniel Ríos registered his first appearance of the season, coming on for Sapong. Walker Zimmerman replaced Alistair Johnston, back in the squad four days after the birth of his son.
This brought on a formation change with Nashville doing everything it could to get a result. Danladi again was denied after a corner soon after, and that would be the last of Nashville’s good attempts in regulation. Montreal was able to waste time, and clear deep their way through regular time, leading to seven minutes of added time. That would come back to cost them. A step up from Zimmerman sprung Randall Leal on the right flank. His cross was deflected but found its way to Maher, who was able to lob in a ball that Abu Danladi. The third time was a charm for Danladi, who scored his first of the season with a well-taken header.
Despite the late theatrics, this was a less than ideal result for Nashville, who again dropped points at home against a team below them in the table. Nashville will have to find away to make up those points (and several others) on the road later in the year. Gary Smith’s team will gets some much needed rest this week. before taking the field next Saturday at home against Philadelphia Union.
Three quick notes
1. Haakenson gets first start. Well-deserved for Haakenson after his MOTM performance midweek. We saw him move around the formation tonight, and I thought he looked dangerous particularly early on.
2. Hany, Hany wherefore art thou Hany? Is there a streakier player on the Nashville SC roster? When on, he’s clearly the most technically gifted player in the side. When he’s not, he can be a bit frustrating for fans of the boys in gold. Unfortunately, right now he’s not.
3. Ríos is back. Good to see Ríos make his first appearance of the season. He’s been up against it with a few setbacks, but his feet were quick, and I look forward to seeing him get more minutes soon.
Possession: NSH 60% – 40% MTL
Shots: NSH 21 – 8 MTL
Shots on goal: NSH 7 – 4 MTL
Expected goals: NSH 1.82 – 0.61 MTL
Goals: NSH 1 – 1 MTL
Fouls: NSH 11 – 10 MTL
Yellow cards: NSH 1 – 3 MTL
Red cards: NSH 0 – 0 MTL
Nashville SC (4-4-1-1): Willis; Johnston (Zimmerman 77′), Maher, Romney, Lovitz; Muyl (Danladi 68′), McCarty (Anunga 68′), Godoy, Haakenson (Leal 68′); Mukhtar; Sapong (Ríos 77′)
CF Montréal (3-4-1-2): Pantemis; Struna, Camacho, Miller; Brault-Guillard, Piette, Mihailović, Kizza (Bayiha 77′); Sejdić (Maciel 77′); Toye (Quioto 68′), Sunusi (Torres)