Recap: Inter Miami come back late to equalize against Nashville SC

NASHVILLE, TN – Nashville SC conceded a two-goal lead to Inter Miami in the first round of their Concacaf Champions Cup Round of 16 meeting, drawing 2-2 at Geodis Park on Thursday night. They’ll play the second leg in Ft. Lauderdale next Wednesday.

The XI

Hany Mukhtar was a surprise inclusion in the starting lineup after a hamstring issue saw him miss the last three matches for Nashville. Nashville announced Mukhtar’s new contract extension, keeping him in Music City through 2027, ahead of the match.

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Tyler Boyd played primarily at the tip of Nashville’s attack, acting as the no. 9 with striker Sam Surridge remaining out with a shoulder injury.

On the pitch

Nashville were the better side to start both halves. Just four minutes into the match, Shaq Moore went on a driving run through Miami’s backline, exchanging a quick pass with Alex Muyl before laying the ball off to a wide open Jacob Shaffelburg at the top of the box. The Canadian made no mistake with the finish.

Shaffelburg would take a beating throughout the night. Miami debutant Federico Redondo leveled him with an elbow to his head, and was somehow only given a yellow card. Just before the half, Tómas Avilés knocked Shaffelburg to the ground with an off-ball elbow to the chest. Neither were sent off, and Tyler Boyd’s seemingly sound penalty shout was waved off.

Shaffelburg picked up right where he left off in the second half, though, scoring a blazer just two minutes into the period. On his weaker right foot, the winger struck the ball on a rope into the top corner, his best goal in a Nashville shirt.

However, as has been the case throughout his career, Lionel Messi is inevitable. Midway through the second half, Miami’s maestro received a layoff from Luis Suárez at the top of the box and curled his shot perfectly into the side netting, leaving Joe Willis without a chance.

In the dying minutes of the half, Nashville thought they had scored a third, a crucial goal in the two-legged series. Moore cut inside the box onto his weaker left foot, scampering past a pair of defenders before curling his shot into the bottom corner. However, after video review, he was deemed offside in the buildup by the thinnest of margins, and the goal was called back.

The pendulum fully swung Miami’s way in the 95th minute. Deep into second half stoppage time, with Walker Zimmerman out of the match due to injury, Suárez pounced. Uruguay’s all-time leading scorer did what he’s done throughout his career, ghosting past three defenders in the box to find himself unmarked on the end of a cross, and it was a simple finish to level the match.

The big picture

It was a strong showing from Nashville, who had several chances to add to their lead but couldn’t find the finish. After struggling to create chances with Mukhtar and Surridge injured, the return of the former had an immediate impact and the Coyotes looked more dangerous than they had in either of their first two league matches.

A 2-2 draw certainly isn’t a death sentence, but it leaves the momentum and the odds in Miami’s favor. With away goals the tiebreaker, Miami are in the driver’s seat. It’s an uphill battle for Nashville, who will need to find ways to score at least one to flip the aggregate scoreline in their favor.

Post-match quotes

Stats

Possession: NSH 30% – 70%
Passes completed: NSH 219 – 629 MIA
Shots: NSH 6 – 12 MIA
Shots on goal: NSH 3 – 6 MIA
Expected goals: NSH 1.02 – 1.50 MIA
Goals: NSH 2 – 2 MIA
Fouls: NSH 3 – 9 MIA
Yellow cards: NSH 0 – 1 MIA
Red cards: NSH 0 – 0 MIA

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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