Recap: Nashville SC dominant in comprehensive win over CF Montréal

NASHVILLE, TN – Nashville SC have needed a commanding win, or even just a win, after their struggles to start the 2024 season. They got that on Saturday night, cruising to a 4-1 scoreline over CF Montréal in their most complete performance of the year.

The XI

Gary Smith was finally able to select a mostly healthy lineup, with his three Designated Players Hany Mukhtar, Sam Surridge and Walker Zimmerman starting together for the first time this season.

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Tyler Boyd was available off the bench as well, giving Nashville some much-needed firepower in reserve.

On the pitch

Nashville were all over the Impact from the opening whistle. Surridge got his third goal of the campaign just 12 minutes in, a smart finish to the far post after Dru Yearwood split the defense to put him through on goal. Nine minutes later, Walker Zimmerman got his first goal since Nashville’s Leagues Cup win over Club América last August, spinning mid-air to thump a corner in with the back of his head (“that’s what the bun is for”, he joked after the match).

Nashville didn’t take their foot off the gas. In fact, Hany Mukhtar hit the woodwork seconds after Montréal’s restart as the Coyotes finally opted to defend a lead by adding to it.

That continued in the second half. All three DPs were involved in the third goal just a minute after the break; Zimmerman won the ball and made a lung-busting run up top, and Mukhtar brought down a perfect diagonal from Yearwood before slowing play up to find Surridge’s late run into the box for the best goal of the night.

Zimmerman added a second in his return, unfortunately at the other end. Raheem Edwards made a run across the box and the Nashville captain’s attempted clearance squeaked behind him to beat Joe Willis. It didn’t ultimately matter, with Surridge capping off his hat-trick in the 82nd minute, smacking the ball home after the Coyotes hit the woodwork twice.

The big picture

Nashville talked about pressure and confidence all week. The Coyotes have clearly been well below their normal standards this season, and their inability to hold onto a lead had been especially concerning.

Their performance didn’t look like a team that was lacking confidence, though. The way they continued to attack Montréal, even up two or three goals, was a stark contrast to the previous nine matches. Zimmerman’s return clearly elevated the entire team, while Mukhtar and Surridge looked more on the same page than they’ve been since Leagues Cup.

It’s just one win, a small sample size against a much larger sample size of poor results. But it did show the potential that this team has when healthy, and that some of the pieces can still perform at the highest level. Now the challenge becomes maintaining this form. They’ll travel to Charlotte FC next.

Post-match quotes

Stats

Possession: NSH 38% – 62% MTL
Passes completed: NSH 322 – 569 MTL
Shots: NSH 19 – 17 MTL
Shots on goal: NSH 7 – 4 MTL
Penalty kicks: NSH 0 – 0 MTL
Expected goals: NSH 2.49 – 1.44 MTL
Goals: NSH 4 – 1 MTL
Fouls: NSH 14 – 13 MTL
Yellow cards: NSH 2 – 3 MTL
Red cards: NSH 0 – 0 MTL

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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