Nashville SC keep clean sheet but can’t get a win over Miami

Nashville SC kept their first clean sheet of 2021, but were again left without a win. After three home matches to start the season, they’re left with just three points. It’s hard to call it anything other than a massively disappointing return for a side hoping to build on a successful 2020 campaign.

Head coach Gary Smith rolled out a familiar lineup, with Alex Muyl replacing Handwalla Bwana as the only change from last week’s eleven. Nashville seemed set on keeping the game closed to start the half, and while they didn’t concede early, they allowed a pair of excellent chances that Miami somehow couldn’t convert.

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Nashville began to take control of the match around the midpoint of the first half. The Boys In Gold dominated possession, keeping 57% of the ball. While chances didn’t flow as freely as against Cincinnati or Montreál, they had opportunities. Dan Lovitz skied a glorious chance after an Alex Muyl cutback, and Hany Mukhtar got on the end of a great entry pass from Randall Leal, but his chipped effort only found the side netting.

Nashville struggled mightily in the second half. Sloppy touches and poor communication accentuated their issues creating clear cut chances. Miami squashed any space in midfield and forced Nashville wide, and the final ball into the box was lacking.

The home side were lucky to finish the match with 11 men. Walker Zimmerman dragged down Robbie Robinson on a clear breakaway, and was somehow only shown a yellow card by referee Rosendo Mendoza. Even after VAR review, the call was upheld.

On a brighter note for Nashville, new signing Rodrigo Piñeiro made his MLS debut in stoppage time, but came on too late to make a major impact.

Three things

1. Defensive improvement. Nashville kept their first clean sheet of 2021, only allowing five total shots from Miami’s depleted attack. After conceding two goals in both their previous contests, a clean sheet will be a welcome sight for Gary Smith and Nashville SC.

2. More dropped points at home. Nashville’s schedule is heavily slanted towards the front end of the schedule, with five of their first six matches at home. They’ve played three matches at home and taken just three points. With the chances created, they’ve deserved more. You never want to panic this early in the season, but with an ultra-competitive Eastern conference, dropping points this early could be the difference in making or missing the postseason.

3. Nashville get lucky, for once. Nashville have been somewhat unlucky to not score more than their four goals. Today, they were lucky to finish the match with 11 men. Walker Zimmerman looked certain to receive a red card and was somehow allowed to continue. Down a man with 20 minutes to play, getting away with a point would have felt like a much better result.


Shots: NSH 10 – 5 MIA
Shots on goal: NSH 3 – 2 MIA
Expected goals: NSH 0.69 – 0.32 MIA
Goals: NSH 0 – 0 MIA
Possession: NSH 59.3% – 40.7% MIA
Yellow cards: NSH 2 – 1 MIA
Red cards: NSH 0 – 0 MIA

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


  1. I wonder if we’ll make adjustments to the lineup next week against the Revs since our current attacking group hasn’t gelled yet. Personally, I’d give CJ the chance to start up top and potentially swap Leal and Mukhtar. I think Leal is better suited to the wings where he has more space, but he seems to be the better distributor and playmaker over Mukhtar with his passing lanes. Defensively we were better compared to the previous games, but we also got really lucky with the couple of chances in the beginning as well as Zimmerman not getting a red. It’s concerning to only getting 3 points but we’ve got a talented roster to turn it around soon.

    1. I’m not sure that much needs to change. Remember that last week, Nashville absolutely battered Montreal with the same lineup. Cadiz has scored twice and while Sapong has looked good in flashes, I’m not sure he’s been significantly better. I think Mukhtar has also been decent, and he’s a better passer than Leal. Leal also needs to be wide where he has the freedom to either isolate defenders or cut inside. It wasn’t great against Miami, but I don’t think the 0-0 draw calls for wholesale changes.

      I do agree that the 3 points are concerning. At some point this side has to get results.

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