Nashville SC bounced back from their disappointment in Charlotte with a resounding 1-0 win over Seattle Sounders on Wednesday night at Geodis Park, completing their season sweep of the reigning Concacaf Champions League winners.
Gary Smith opted for a back four against the Sounders, telling reporters after the match that he wanted to be able to break them down in possession more than they could in a back five.
On the pitch
Nashville set out to be better with the ball, and they certainly were. In the first half they were dominant, outshooting Seattle nine to two. They had several chances to pull ahead and were unable to find the back of the net, leaving fans to worry if it was to be one of those nights again.
Hany Mukhtar calmed those worries with his 11th goal of the year. Randall Leal tracked back and stole the ball from Nicolas Lodeiro before turning and playing an inch-perfect pass to CJ Sapong in space. Sapong shielded the ball from Nouhou before playing a trademark ball across to Hany Mukhtar, who had time and space for a simple finish.
Seattle pushed hard for an equalizer in the second half, but Nashville remained compact and defended their lead much more efficiently than they have in recent weeks. Joe Willis made the play of the night with an unbelievable fingertip save to parry a deflected shot onto the post.
Seattle outshot Nashville seven to three in the second half, but were kept largely at bay by Nashville’s return to 2021 defensive form.
The big picture
Nashville badly needed a win and got it against an elite Sounders side. The victory was just their third at Geodis Park, and they displayed a much improved ability to break down their opponent with the ball.
After all the negativity surrounding the team in recent weeks, a win and a slate of positive results around the league push the ‘Yotes into third place in the Western Conference. It won’t get any easier for the Boys in Gold. League-leading Los Angeles FC come to town on Sunday night, bringing with them the potential MLS debut of Gareth Bale.