Nashville SC badly needed three points at home and a convincing attacking performance. They got both of those on Sunday night at Geodis Park, beating FC Dallas 4-0 on the back of a Hany Mukhtar brace.
Gary Smith named loanee Jacob Shaffelburg to the starting XI, despite the young Canadian only getting in his first training session in Nashville on Friday.
Aníbal Godoy also continued to work back to full fitness, coming off the bench for the final 25 minutes of the game.
On the pitch
Nashville got out of the gates early. Hany Mukhtar scored the first of the night after just five minutes, smashing a shot in at the near post from a ridiculously tight angle.
The MVP candidate bagged an assist for Shaffelburg’s debut goal, laying off the ball inside the box for the debutant to thump a shot in.
Mukhtar continued the highlight reel with a perfectly placed free kick, sending the ball into the top corner past a completely stranded Maarten Paes.
Nashville had plenty of chances to score more in the second half, with Mukhtar, C.J. Sapong and Randall Leal all coming close on multiple occasions. Finally Dave Romney found the cherry on top, heading home from a corner kick to round out the win.
The big picture
Nashville badly needed a win. They badly needed a win at home. They badly needed a clean sheet. And most importantly, they needed goals from someone other than Hany Mukhtar. They got all four against Dallas, and are up to sixth in the Western Conference table.
With several teams around them holding games in hand, Nashville can’t afford to take a step backwards. A pair of games against Vancouver and Colorado within the next 10 days are six pointers, trying to keep points from teams hunting for the same playoff spots.
If the ‘Yotes can use tonight’s win as a springboard to launch their form down the stretch, the playoffs are well within reach.