In a match against Minnesota United with significant playoff ramifications, Nashville SC lost 2-1 at Geodis Park. It’s their fourth home defeat of the year, and drops them to the cusp of the playoff positions.
With Teal Bunbury a late injury omission, Gary Smith played his typical 4-4-1-1 with Alex Muyl and Randall Leal on either side of Hany Mukhtar.
On the pitch
Nashville dug themselves into a hole early. Walker Zimmerman under-hit a pass out of the back, allowing Emanuel Reynoso to break quickly. He found a wide open Franco Fragapane at the back post, who finished easily to take the lead inside 30 minutes.
Nashville rebounded well after going down, dominating from the run of play and creating plenty of chances. Too many of those chances were put straight at Dayne St. Clair, who made seven saves on the night.
Hany Mukhtar pulled Nashville level with his 14th goal of the season. His 22 combined goals and assists are 65% of Nashville’s entire attacking output in 2022, and 52% throughout Nashville’s entire time in MLS.
Nashville’s lead was short lived. Despite coming close to finding a winner of their own on multiple occasions, it was Minnesota who found the winner, with Alan Benítez finishing off a quick counter attack to take three points.
The big picture
Nashville are winless in their last six, and are now in legitimate danger of slipping out of the playoff spots. The loss to Minnesota puts them in seventh place in the Western Conference, tied on points with eighth place Portland, and within a game of Seattle and Colorado, both of whom have at least a game in hand on the Coyotes.
A win over Minnesota would have been vital for Nashville’s playoff hopes. The loss is just as damaging. It doesn’t get any easier for the Boys In Gold, with four matches against sides competing for the same playoff spots on the horizon. They’ll play Dallas, Vancouver, Colorado and LA Galaxy, with a pair of matches against Austin FC sprinkled in.