Recap: Nashville comeback to beat Columbus Crew

NASHVILLE, TN – Nashville SC came back from behind to beat Columbus Crew 3-1 on Sunday night in front of a sold out Geodis Park.

The XI

No surprises in the starting lineup from Gary Smith, who stuck with the diamond midfield that’s seen Nashville hit their best run of form.

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Walker Zimmerman made his return to the matchday squad after missing the last six matches with a groin injury, eventually coming off the bench late in the game.

On the pitch

The match started less than ideally for the ‘Yotes. Taking advantage of significant space outside the box, Columbus midfielder Yaw Yeboah opened the scoring after just 90 seconds, cracking a left-footed rocket straight into the top corner.

The Crew held strong for 55 minutes, despite waves of pressure from Nashville. 10 minutes into the second half, Nashville found the equalizer from a corner kick. Fafà Picault got on the end of the delivery from Hany Mukhtar, flicking it in from close range off the inside of his heel.

Teal Bunbury put the ‘Yotes ahead, again from a corner. The 32-year-old striker nodded Dan Lovitz’s in-swinging ball through the legs of ‘keeper Patrick Schulte to gives the home side the lead.

Columbus piled on the pressure late in the match, forcing Joe Willis into several saves, including a spectacular effort to deny a Cucho Hernández bicycle kick. But with the last kick of the match, Hany Mukhtar sealed the three points for Nashville. The reigning MLS MVP did what he’s done so many times before, burning the defense on a breakaway, beating his defender with a few step overs in the box, and blasting a shot in at the near post.

The big picture

It’s been an exceptional May for the Boys In Gold. Unbeaten in seven league matches, they’re up to second place in both the Eastern Conference table and the Supporters’ Shield race, five points behind FC Cincinnati’s 33.

Hany Mukhtar leads MLS in goal contributions with 16 in 15 matches. He’s six goals ahead of his 2022 MVP-winning pace, and continues to be the most dangerous open-field attacker not just in modern MLS but in the league’s history.

Even more importantly, Nashville’s defense remains on elite pace. Through 15 games they’ve conceded just 10 goals, the best defensive record in the league and on track for the best single-season defensive record in league history.

They’ll return to action on Saturday, June 3, with a trip to FC Dallas.

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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