Recap: Nashville SC’s season fizzles out with flat Orlando loss

NASHVILLE, TN – Nashville SC’s 2023 season fizzled to an end on Tuesday night. The Boys in Gold crashed out of the MLS Cup Playoffs with a 1-0 loss to Orlando City at Geodis Park, finishing the series without a win and without scoring a goal.

The XI

Gary Smith went with his strongest lineup, bringing Dax McCarty back into the team after injury and giving Lukas MacNaughton a start in place of Jack Maher.

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On the pitch

Prior to the match, Gary Smith told media that while Nashville couldn’t win the match in the first 15 minutes, they could lose it. Unfortunately, they lost it in the first six minutes.

Dax McCarty, usually the most reliable passer in the Coyotes’ midfield, committed an egregious giveaway just outside his own box. Iv├ín Angulo pounced, intercepting the ball and jockeying it away from Walker Zimmerman before his shot took a looping deflection over the head of a helpless Joe Willis.

Nashville were doomed from that point on. In fact, down a goal at home in an elimination match, they were outshot 16 to 10 by Orlando, creating just 0.55 expected goals and failing to significantly threaten Pedro Gallese’s goal. It was as toothless as Nashville have ever looked in a knockout match.

Hany Mukhtar had a goal rightfully ruled out for offside. Apart from that, Sam Surridge snatched at a couple shots and Alex Muyl saw a tame header saved. Nashville’s season ended with a whimper, never looking up for a match of this importance.

The big picture

It’s hard to immediately take stock of a season like this after a loss like Nashville’s last night. We’ll have plenty of analysis, reaction, and opinion over the coming days and weeks. Nashville will quickly transition to offseason mode, with just 90 days until they begin their 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup campaign.

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

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