Two goals up with 30 minutes left to play at Geodis Park on Sunday night, Nashville SC looked on the cusp of a much-needed home win. Three points proved to be elusive for the ‘Yotes, though, as the Portland Timbers charged back into the game to spoil the party and earn a draw.
Gary Smith switched to a back four with Alex Muyl unavailable for unexplained reasons. Luke Haakenson got the start at right midfield, with Aké Loba once again on the bench.
On the pitch
Nashville got out to an early lead through Sean Davis. The veteran midfielder scored his first MLS goal since August 2017, curling a right-footed effort into the top corner past a stranded David Bingham. Just after the break, Hany Mukhtar doubled the lead with his ninth goal in league play, calmly finishing a low cross from Haakenson.
Just as three points seemed imminent for Nashville, Portland were allowed back into the game. Elliot Panicco, getting his second start in league play this season, played a pass straight to Jarosław Niezgoda and brought him down in the box. Dairon Asprilla dispatched the resulting penalty.
Just six minutes later, Portland drew level. Second half substitute Eryk Williamson was given acres of space in midfield and picked out Niezgoda in the box, who clipped his shot just under the bar. After equalizing, Portland came close to finding a winner. Marvin Loría rattled the crossbar with an absolute laser of a left-footed shot, coming close to snatching a winner in stoppage time.
The big picture
The result moves Nashville into fourth place in the Western Conference pending Monday’s result, but they miss a chance to pass Real Salt Lake in third place. While the ‘Yotes have lost just once at home since the start of the 2021 season, their home form isn’t exactly dominant. They’ve taken just 10 of 21 potential points at Geodis Park this season, and just 44 of 72 potential points at home since last year.
Nashville have allowed their opponents to earn a result in two out of every three matches at home dating back to 2021. Out of 21 home matches they’ve won just 10. For a side that clearly has the potential to be a contender in MLS, their inability to consistently win at home is becoming concerning.