NASHVILLE, TN – Nashville SC’s Leagues Cup campaign didn’t get a dream ending. The Coyotes fell to Inter Miami CF in an eleven-round penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw in regulation, with the Herons edging it out to win the first trophy of the two 2020 MLS expansion sides.
Gary Smith kept things simple, making just two changes to the side that beat CF Monterrey 2-0 on Tuesday.
Fafà Picault replaced Jacob Shaffelburg, while Sam Surridge got his first start in Nashville after signing as a Designated Player in the summer transfer window.
On the pitch
Nashville presented Miami the toughest defensive test they’ve faced yet. They held them to just three shots on target all night, while limiting Lionel Messi’s effect in the final third.
Unfortunately for the home side, Messi has only needed the smallest of chances to score during his career. He got one such chance in Nashville, pouncing on a broken play outside the box before ripping an unstoppable shot into the top corner.
Nashville clawed their way back into the match, even after Messi hit the post, coming inches away from killing off the game. Fafà Picault found an equalizer from a corner kick, heading the ball off Benja Cremaschi and Drake Callender on its way in. Mukhtar and Surridge nearly found a winner, streaking through Miami’s defense on a counter before a pair of shots were saved.
Miami nearly won the match with the last kick of the game. Leonardo Campana got behind Nashville’s defense, chipping Elliot Panicco and rounding a stumbling Shaq Moore before his sliding shot rattled off the outside of the post.
In penalties, there was almost nothing to separate the two sides. Deadlocked through 10 rounds of penalty kicks, the match came down to goalkeepers. Miami shot stopper Drake Callender smashed his shot into the top corner, and then saved Elliot Panicco’s attempt, giving Miami their first-ever trophy.