Nashville SC’s home unbeaten run ends with dismal loss to Sporting KC

Nashville SC were unbeaten at home for 25 consecutive matches. That ended on Sunday evening, with Sporting Kansas City handing the Coyotes their first home loss since November 4, 2020, and their first ever loss at Geodis Park.

The XI

Garry Smith opted for a midfield three of Aníbal Godoy, Sean Davis and Brian Anunga to try and counter Sporting’s midfield and allow Nashville to maintain possession.

Dave Romney also returned to the lineup after missing last weekend in the league’s health and safety protocols.

On the pitch

From the start it was a sub-par showing from Nashville. While they had plenty of possession, they lacked ideas to break through Sporting’s initial press. Too often they opted not to try a forward pass into midfield, rather choosing to cycle the ball across the backline.

Just before halftime, Murfreesboro native Felipe Hernandez opened the scoring. His free kick from distance confused Joe Willis, who anticipated a touch that never came, and the ball flew directly into goal.

Just after the break, Graham Zusi doubled the lead with a world-class strike. While his finish was unstoppable, slack defending from the home side gave him all the time in the world to pick his spot.

Aké Loba, on as a halftime substitute for Brian Anunga, pulled a goal back to give Nashville hope and get off the mark in MLS this season. Nashville thought they had a golden chance to snatch a draw late, as Alex Muyl was could in the box in a bizarre sequence that included an earlier penalty shout for Loba.

Referee Victor Rivas initially pointed to the spot, but after Sporting KC veteran Roger Espinoza received a yellow card for delaying the game, Rivas was instructed by VAR to look at a possible offside on Muyl. After review, the penalty was waved off.

The big picture

It’s been 592 days since Nashville lost at home, and while the sky certainly isn’t falling for the sixth placed side, their past two results have raised plenty of questions. While injuries have been a hurdle (they again named two goalkeepers to their bench), there are questions about their attacking depth and their consistent options outside Hany Mukhtar and CJ Sapong.

With the summer transfer window set to open in two weeks, it shouldn’t be surprising to see Nashville bring in some much-needed reinforcements, with some deserved lineup changes in the meantime.

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