NASHVILLE, TN – Nashville SC continued their strong start to the season, knocking off CF Montréal 2-0 at Geodis Park on Saturday night. The win keeps Nashville undefeated, taking seven points from their first three matches, and the ‘Yotes have yet to concede a goal.
With four players out injured, including Nick DePuy’s season-ending achilles surgery, head coach Gary Smith named a shortened roster, including two goalkeepers on the bench.
Reigning MLS MVP Hany Mukhtar got his first start of the 2023 season after starting the previous two matches on the bench.
On the pitch
Against a overhauled Montréal side, Nashville didn’t dominate early. Head coach Hernan Losada’s pressing system afforded the club formerly known as the impact more possession than expected, and while they didn’t threaten Nashville’s goal consistently, they managed the game well during stretches.
As was the case in Nashville’s season opener, Hany Mukhtar and Jacob Shaffelburg combined to take the lead. A slick turn in midfield from Mukhtar opened up acres of space on the counter, but Shaffelburg’s thunderous finish off the underside of the bar was spectacular.
As the game wore on, Nashville struggled more and more to deal with Montréal’s back five. Smith eventually shifted personnel to match the system, but not before Teal Bunbury missed a gilt-edged chance, hitting the bar after a clean breakaway put him through on goal.
Late in the match, Taylor Washington capped off the result in style, darting past Zachary Brault-Guillard to thunder home his first career goal in MLS.
The big picture
Nashville couldn’t have asked to a better start to the season. They’ve taken seven points from their first three matches, winning both their games at home and keeping three clean sheets. They should be quite confident ahead of next weekend’s trip to New England Revolution.
It was a special night for Taylor Washington. The second player signed to Nashville SC’s USL roster in 2017 has been a stalwart for the club for six seasons. He leads the club in all-time appearances with 120, playing 49 matches in MLS. His goal to cap things off against Montréal was his first in MLS.
It was a well-deserved moment for a player who has been consistently reliable on the pitch, and has had an even bigger impact off the field in the Nashville community.