Recap: Nashville fall in New York

QUEENS, NY – A disastrous opening 25 minutes doomed Nashville SC to defeat against New York City FC at Citi Field on Saturday night. Poor marking gave New York a 2-0 lead within the opening half hour, and it proved too much for Nashville to overcome.

The XI

Gary Smith made just one change from the side that drew Toronto FC 0-0 at home last weekend, bringing on Alex Muyl in place of Jacob Shaffelburg.

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On the pitch

For a side that has built their identity on defense, Nashville’s defense was stunningly lax in the opening minutes. Keaton Parks opened the scoring after just 10 minutes, taking advantage of a stretched defense to thump a header home after a well-timed trailing run.

15 minutes later, more poor marking cost Nashville, allowing Maxime Chanot to volley a corner kick unmarked, putting the ball past a stranded Joe Willis to double the lead.

Nashville were forced to open up and chase the game. They left themselves exposed at the back a couple of times as the game became stretched, with Walker Zimmerman and Joe Willis both intervening to keep the Pigeons from finding a third.

Hany Mukhtar pulled a goal back late, picking out the bottom corner perfectly to finish off a well-executed move.

The goal proved to be too little, too late, however. Despite a handful of late half chances, the Coyotes couldn’t find an equalizer, and leave New York without a point.

The big picture

It was a rather familiar match for Nashville. They excel when they keep their opponents from scoring, or when they find the goal first. But with well-documented lack of secondary scoring, they struggle to come back when they go behind. They created a decent number of chances as the game became more and more stretched, but it was a product of gamestate more than anything else.

Hany Mukhtar hasn’t grabbed the headlines in the way he did last year, but he still has two goals and three assists in just 660 minutes. But again, he’s being asked to do it on his own. C.J. Sapong has played 1,928 minutes since his last goal, almost exclusively as Nashville’s starting striker. Teal Bunbury has yet to score in 2023, and the two have put just two shots on target this season.

It’s simply not good enough from Nashville’s attack. It was a known issue in 2021. It became glaring in 2022. And without really being addressed heading into 2023, it’s hard to see Nashville improving significantly going forward without help from the transfer market.

Nashville are back home next weekend, taking on Supporters Shield leaders LAFC at Geodis Park on Saturday, April 22.


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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