Recap: Rotated Nashville SC blow lead against LA Galaxy

NASHVILLE, TN – Nashville SC rotated heavily between midweek Concacaf Champions Cup matches and almost came away with a shock win against the LA Galaxy, but conceded two second half goals to draw 2-2.

The XI

Gary Smith made 10 changes to the side that drew Inter Miami on Wednesday. Alex Muyl was the lone holdover in the XI (and he was substituted at halftime), while Amar Sejdić made his Nashville debut in midfield.

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On the pitch

For a lineup that hadn’t played a competitive match together, Nashville were surprisingly cohesive. They weathered an early storm from the Galaxy, including a spectacular save from Elliot Panicco to deny Riqui Puig from the penalty spot.

Nashville began to control more of the game, with midfielders Brian Anunga and Amar Sejdić able to break through the Galaxy’s midfield and find McKinze Gaines, who was especially dangerous in transition. Just after halftime, Nashville took the lead after Dru Yearwood was fouled in the box. Forward Teal Bunbury, wearing the captain’s armband, slotted the ensuing spot kick for his second penalty kick goal of the season.

Four minutes later, Yearwood doubled the lead. The former New York Red Bull collected a pass from Gaines just inside the box and smashed home a shot for his first goal in gold.

Nashville seemed set for an improbable two goal win, but the Galaxy had other ideas. Riqui Puig pulled one back in the 67th minute, taking advantage of missed clearances from Sejdić and Anunga before curling a shot past Panicco, off the post and in.

The Galaxy equalized in the 82nd minute through Dejan Joveljić. After a strong save from Panicco, left back Julian Aude cut a ball back across goal, finding an unmarked Joveljić for an easy finish.

The big picture

If you would have offered Nashville a 2-2 draw with the lineup they put out before the match, they probably would have taken it. Blowing a two-goal lead at home for the second time in a week, though, is far from ideal. It’s still incredibly early in the season, but points are still points.

The positives, though, are obvious. Nashville rested most of their starters, getting Sam Surridge back on the field for the final 25 minutes in his return from a shoulder injury. They should be able to go nearly full strength for the return leg in Miami, with their priority clearly on Concacaf Champions Cup early in the season.

Up next

Away vs Inter Miami CF
Concacaf Champions Cup Round of 16, Leg 2
Wednesday, March 13
7:15 pm CT, Chase Stadium, Ft. Lauderdale FL
FS2, TUDN

Stats

Possession: NSH 38% – 63% LA
Passes completed: NSH 324 – 595 LA
Shots: NSH 14 – 19 LA
Shots on goal: NSH 4 – 8 LA
Expected goals: NSH 1.55 – 2.16 LA
Goals: NSH 2 – 2 LA
Fouls: NSH 15 – 7 LA
Yellow cards: NSH 2 – 2 LA
Red cards: NSH 0 – 0 LA

Author: Ben Wrightis the Director of Soccer Content and a Senior MLS Contributor for Broadway Sports covering Nashville SC and the US National Team. Previously Ben was the editor and a founder of Speedway Soccer, where he has covered Nashville SC and their time in USL before journeying to Major League Soccer since 2018. Raised in Louisville, KY Ben grew up playing before a knee injury ended his competitive career. When he is not talking soccer he is probably producing music, drinking coffee or hanging out with his wife and kids. Mastodon

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