NASHVILLE, TN – Nashville SC had a chance to gain ground on the Eastern Conference, but couldn’t take advantage in a disjointed draw against the Seattle Sounders in which they sorely lacked any quality in the final third.
Gary Smith was able to name one of the strongest lineups of the season, with Lukas MacNaughton the only absence from his regular group.
On the pitch
Nashville struggled, to put it lightly. The Coyotes were sloppy in their passing, often putting simple passes too far in front or behind of their teammates, killing momentum. Touches were similarly sloppy, either losing possession or forcing the ball backward. The ball was moved too slowly throughout the night, and Nashville consistently ignored options to play a quicker, more ambitious ball, instead preferring to cycle the ball around the backline in painfully predictable patterns.
Hany Mukhtar had one moment of brilliance in the second half, taking on five Seattle defenders on the dribble, but it only resulted in a corner. Jacob Shaffelburg had the best opportunity of the night just before the half, tearing open Seattle on a counter. But in a sequence that was emblematic of the evening, he opted to take an extra touch and try to cut across the defender instead of shooting first time on his left foot, and the chance was squandered.
The big picture
It was a bad draw for Nashville. They managed just five shots, the second-lowest total for any home game under Gary Smith, going back 112 games to the 2018 USL Championship season. The only match they managed less was a 2-0 win over FC Dallas in the US Open Cup earlier this year, in which they had just four total shots.
With Nashville badly needing to find form heading into the playoffs, it wasn’t encouraging.
On the bright side, the Coyotes officially clinched their spot in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs after DC United’s 2-2 draw with Vancouver Whitecaps. They’ll be back in action against 2nd-place Orlando City SC on Wednesday.