Nashville SC earned their second draw on the road of the week, keeping New England Revolution off the board in a 0-0 tie. While the 1-1 draw in Toronto last weekend left players and fans disappointed, a disciplined performance against the best side in the league felt significantly less deflating.
Head coach Gary Smith made six changes to the side that earned a point in Toronto, rotating his side with the weekend’s trip to Miami in mind.
New signing Aké Loba got his first start after joining from Monterrey, while Dax McCarty and Alistair Johnston were both given the night off (McCarty spent his evening in the broadcast booth). Aníbal Godoy made his first appearance since the July 3 win over Philadelphia Union after injuring his hamstring on international duty, and Dan Lovitz returned to the squad after missing the last three matches.
Run of play
Up against one of the top scoring sides in MLS, and with a rotated lineup, Nashville went into the match with a defensive mindset. “We all regard New England as not just the best team in the league, but the most in-form team as well,” said Smith after the match. “The plan was to try and make things difficult, and I think we did that.”
Nashville spent 69% of the match without the ball, and as they’ve done countless times in the past, remained organized despite New England’s ability on the ball. As the game went on, they came out of their shell more. Hany Mukhtar, on for Loba at halftime, drive at New England for the final 10 minutes, and created a few good looks on the break.
New England looked like they would go up a goal in the 67th minute when Gustavo Bou went down in the box under a challenge from Jalil Anibaba, but a VAR review showed that there was no contact and the penalty was overturned.
At the end of the day, though, a draw on the road in New England is a decent result. “It goes without saying that I’m absolutely delighted with a point here,” said Smith.
Nashville have yet to win on the road, but they’ve also only lost a single match. They’ll need to pick up three points away from home at some point, but New England is an exceedingly difficult place to play. Before tonight’s match, the Revolution had played seven times at Gillette Stadium and won all but one.
The point leaves Nashville in fourth place. They’ll head to last-placed Inter Miami on Sunday.
New England (4-3-1-2): Turner; Bye, Farrell, Kessler, Jones; Kaptoum (McNamara 63′), Polster, Traustason (Boateng 63′); Buchanan (Bunbury 81′); Bou ©, Buksa
Nashville (3-5-2): Willis ©; Maher, Anibaba, Romney; Miller, Muyl (Leal 79′), Anunga, LaGrassa (Godoy 64′), Washington (Lovitz 70′); Loba (Mukhtar 46′), Cádiz (Sapong 64′)
Possession: NE 69% – 31% NSH
Shots: NE 12 – 7 NSH
Shots on goal: NE 6 – 2 NSH
Expected goals: NE 0.74 – 0.49 NSH
Goals: NE 0 – 0 NSH
Passes: NE 566 – 207 NSH
Fouls: NE 14 – 11 NSH
Yellow cards: NE 3 – 1 NSH
Red cards: NE 0 – 0 NSH