Recap: Nashville cruise past Atlanta in Mukhtar masterclass

NASHVILLE, TN – On a gorgeous spring afternoon at Geodis Park, Nashville SC cruised past Atlanta United, winning 3-1 in a game where Hany Mukhtar pulled the strings.

The XI

After midweek US Open Cup action, Gary Smith returned to the same lineup that drew LAFC 1-1 in Nashville last weekend.

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Dax McCarty sat at the base of a midfield diamond, with Fafà Picault and Hany Mukhtar switching positions around Teal Bunbury.

On the pitch

Atlanta dominated possession in the first half, but couldn’t convert a few half chances. Nashville, on the other hand, scored with their first shot on target. Hany Mukhtar’s corner found Walker Zimmerman at the near post, and the center back flicked it on to Fafà Picault for a tap in.

Nashville continued on the front foot after the halftime break, and again, Mukhtar was at the heart of it. The playmaker got on the end of a through ball from Alex Muyl, forcing goalkeeper Clement Diop into a save. The rebound fell to Teal Bunbury, though, and the striker found the net with a simple finish from point-blank range.

Atlanta pulled a goal back late in the second half. After video review, the visitors were awarded a penalty kick for a Dax McCarty foul in the box, and Thiago Almada calmly slotted home. But just as it seemed they might find an equalizer, Mukhtar broke into space and fed substitute Jacob Shaffelburg a perfect pass. The young Canadian capped off the win with a cool finish.

The big picture

The win pushes Nashville into fifth place in the Eastern Conference, with the rest of the league still to play on Saturday night. After a strong performance against LAFC last time out, they maintained their form with a comprehensive win over their rivals.

They’ll take on Chicago Fire at Geodis Park next Saturday, with a chance to close off their three match home stand with seven points.

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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