It was a night of firsts for Nashville SC, who came out victorious over Orlando City in a 2-0 win. In the Coyotes’ first road win of 2023, Fafà Picault scored his first goal in a Nashville shirt, while Hany Mukhtar found the net for the first time this season.
Luke Haakenson was a surprise inclusion in the lineup, getting his first start since July 3, 2022.
On the pitch
Orlando controlled possession in the early stages, and forced Joe Willis into a strong save within the first 15 minutes. Nashville bended but didn’t break, as has been their calling card throughout MLS.
Quick thinking from Hany Mukhtar opened the scoring. The 2022 MLS MVP quickly took a free kick, spotting the run of Fafà Picault and catching the Orlando defense sleeping. The newly-signed veteran got in behind the defense, and was able to get a touch on the pass at the last second to chip it over goalkeeper Pedro Gallese for his first goal in gold.
The big picture
After back to back losses, getting a win in a difficult Exploria Stadium was a huge boost for Nashville. They’ve built something of a rivalry with Orlando over the last four seasons, and that was evidenced by some hard tackles on the pitch.
Picault and Mukhtar getting off their marks could prove to be even more important, though. Both have been industrious and involved in the early goings, but neither have been able to find the final touch to hit the back of the net. Getting the pair in form is crucial for the ‘Yotes.
They’ll be back in action next Saturday, welcoming Toronto FC to Geodis Park on April 8.