An audacious free kick from Hany Mukhtar saved a point for Nashville SC in a 1-1 draw with New York Red Bulls on Sunday afternoon. The Decision Day meeting at Nissan Stadium saw Nashville finish third in the Eastern Conference, tying both the single season records for fewest losses in a season with four, and equaling Chicago Fire’s 2014 record of 18 draws in a season.
For the first time in 60 MLS matches, Dave Romney did not see the field for Nashville. The center back had previously played every minute of Nashville’s existence in the top flight, but was held out as a precaution with hamstring tightness.
Eric Miller slotted into the three man backline in Romney’s place, with Alex Muyl continuing his newer role in the center of midfield.
One of the big issues for Nashville this season has been conceding first, and they conceded after just 38 seconds on Sunday. Fábio took advantage of a mistimed step from Walker Zimmerman and poor positioning from Eric Miller to smash home from close range.
Hany Mukhtar equalized before halftime with a free kick from an incredibly tight angle, catching the head of Fábio on the way to goal. Mukhtar had a chance to win the match in the second half, flashing a header just wide of the post from an Alistair Johnston cross.
The draw ensures a third place finish for Nashville, who will host Orlando City SC in Round One of the playoffs on Tuesday, November 23. New York Red Bulls squeeze into seventh place, and will travel to Philadelphia Union for their postseason opener.