Nashville SC drew St. Louis City SC 2-2 in their first preseason match of 2024.
Starting a fairly strong side, albeit one without several key contributors, Gary Smith gave Tyler Boyd his first runout in a Nashville SC shirt.
Boyd eventually combined for Nashville’s first goal, playing a ball across to Jacob Shaffelburg to finish off. After a bevy of halftime substitutions, a trialist-filled side eventually found a second through new signing McKinze Gaines, before conceding two late goals to draw 2-2.
Gary Smith quotes
On the match: “I thought it was a very competitive and worthwhile outing against a St. Louis side that we know had a wonderful season in their first year in MLS last year. Honestly, the first 15 minutes looked like the players have been been trapped in a cage all off-season and were just let out. It was very very competitive, but as we settled into it with a side that has got some senior omissions and also looking at one or two other perspectives at a group, I thought the guys settled into it fabulously well and deserved to be one-nil up at the break. The second period saw a very young side go out for the most part, and to go two nil up was was probably more than we expected at that point. But in the end, we suspected that they would find their way back into the game and 2 -2 was a fair result in the end.”
On health issues with key players: “You know, Walker’s probably the guy that we know most about from last year. You know, he battled his way through some serious difficulties with his Achilles and he’s had some treatment over the weekend that is gonna take a little bit longer to get him back on the field. I think it’d be easier to say with the amount of bodies out or limited like Sean Davis, 22 minutes or Dru Yearwood, 22 minutes. They shared the half. You know, those guys have had ailments that have brought them into pre-season and they’re just slowly getting over them.
Same can be said for Daniel [Lovitz] and Aníbal [Godoy]. They’ve had little problems that we’re looking at and trying to nurse them through. And likewise, Hany [Mukhtar], you know, there was some work that he did in the off-season that we thought would give him a better opportunity to be ready for the pre-season. And that wasn’t to be the case. He’s not far away. He’s been training in the group, but I just didn’t want to risk him this early with such a limited amount of training time. So you’re talking about some really, you know, important players there.
Shaq [Moore]’s exclusion from the group was more based around the fact that he’s probably in front of the other guys a little bit at the moment. I wanted to see one or two trialists as well in that second period. And there’s no two ways that Shaq’s gonna get a tremendous amount of football come, you know, the start of the season.
So a lot of bodies to step in, but some really pleasing relationships already starting to form. And like I said, I thought after the first 15 minutes, which was, you know, a real, you know, sort of blood and thunder 15 minutes, if you like, it showed some real quality. And there were some nice connections and some creativity to come out of it. and I’m very excited.”