Nashville SC lost their second match at Geodis Park this season, falling 2-1 to Los Angeles FC on a night that saw international superstars Giorgio Chiellini and Gareth Bale make their Major League Soccer debuts.
Nashville head coach Gary Smith made just one change to the side that beat Seattle Sounders midweek, bringing on Brian Anunga in place of Sean Davis.
On the pitch
LAFC took the lead through serial goal scorer Cristian Arango. The Colombian international pounced on a pass from Ryan Hollingshead in the box, baiting Dan Lovitz to step up before rounding him and scuffing a shot which rolled past Joe Willis into the next.
Hany Mukhtar pulled Nashville level from the penalty spot just before the break after Ilie dragged down CJ Sapong. The MVP candidate scored his 12th goal of the season in league play, hitting his shot off the post and in.
LAFC scored the winner just 45 seconds into the second half. Eric Miller was caught out, unable to get a head on a floated ball from Carlos Vela. Hollingshead’s shot rattled the woodwork and Jose Cifuentes was there to clean up the rebound.
Nashville had several chances as the match went on, including a gilt-edged look from Dax McCarty from close range, but the Coyotes couldn’t find the finishing touch.
The big picture
Losing a close game to the best team in MLS isn’t a disastrous result by any stretch, and the loss was cushioned by a crucial three points against Seattle on Wednesday night. The ‘Yotes drop to fifth place in the Western Conference after the result, but are just three points behind third-placed Real Salt Lake. They’ll travel to play a suddenly-good FC Cincinnati next weekend.