NASHVILLE, TN – Nashville were uncharacteristically sloppy in their 4-3 Leagues Cup loss to Deportivo Toluca on Thursday night, conceding four goals for just the third time in club history and putting their qualification for the knockout rounds on hold until the result of Monday night’s match between Toluca and Colorado Rapids.
Another strong lineup from Nashville, with Gary Smith opting not to start a traditional target forward.
On the pitch
Nashville started on the front foot, opening the scoring just three minutes in via Walker Zimmerman. The captain buried a Dan Lovitz corner kick to give Nashville the momentum early. Unfortunately, he was at fault for Toluca’s equalizer in the 27th minute, slow to react to Marcel Ruiz’s run and providing the midfielder with a simple finish.
Fafà Picault regained the lead in the 37th minute after a fantastic through ball from Jacob Shaffelburg, rounding the goalkeeper before slotting home. Again, though, Ruiz equalized, capitalizing on an under hit goal-line clearance from Lovitz before thumping a shot past Elliot Panicco.
Toluca took the lead just before the half. Alex Muyl reached out his arm on the edge of the box and made contact with the ball, and Video Assistant Referee called for a penalty kick. Goalkeeper Tiago Volpi, Toluca’s designated penalty taker and leading scorer, calmly dispatched it to the bottom right corner.
Toluca doubled their lead in the 60th minute, and although Luke Haakenson pulled one back with 20 minutes left to play, it wasn’t enough. Halftime substitute Teal Bunbury was inexplicably shown a second yellow card after a frustrated word with the referee, and Nashville couldn’t claw back to find an equalizer.
The big picture
A point would have guaranteed Nashville a spot in the Round of 32. Because of their win over Colorado on Sunday, they still have very favorable odds to advance, although it will ultimately depend on the result of Toluca’s match in Denver on Monday evening.
The most likely scenario is for Nashville to advance in second place, meaning they’d play away to FC Cincinnati in the Round of 32. Cincinnati are undefeated this season at TQL Stadium, winning 12 and drawing two.