A second-half goal from CJ Sapong gave Nashville SC a comeback victory on Saturday night against Sporting Kansas City. The Coyotes battled back from a goal down to win their second-consecutive match and move into sixth place in the Western Conference.
Head coach Gary Smith made just one change to the side that got a win in Columbus last week, bringing on Walker Zimmerman in place of Eric Miller.
Taylor Washington and Brian Anunga retained the places in the lineup after their strong showings last weekend, keeping Dan Lovitz and Aníbal Godoy on the bench.
On the pitch
Nashville started the match on the front foot in a surprisingly open match. Not content to keep numbers behind the ball as they did in Columbus, the Coyotes were proactive against Sporting, creating a number of chances before Hany Mukhtar was dragged down in the box. The German playmaker looked certain to score his first goal of the young season from the penalty spot, but his tame effort right down the middle was easily saved by veteran ‘keeper Tim Melia.
Just minutes later, Sporting took advantage of the miss, opening the scoring through Rémi Walter, whose trailing run into the box was missed by Brian Anunga for a simple finish.
Nashville got back into the match after the break through Dave Romney. The stalwart defender headed home a Randall Leal cross to equalize in the 51st minute, and his long throw in the 68th minute eventually fell to the feet of CJ Sapong, who made no mistake from close range to put the visitors ahead.
Sporting threw a bevy of shots at Joe Willis’s goal, including a Daniel Sallói shot that clanged off of the post, but ultimately came up short.
The big picture
After consecutive defeats to FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake, Nashville have bounced back with statement wins against Columbus Crew and Sporting KC. On Saturday night, the Boys In Gold played their most open match of the season, dominating Sporting in one of the most difficult venues in MLS. Their 19 shots were the most in a match this season, more than three times what they took in Columbus.
Their front-foot approach was a marked change from their recent performances, and they were well rewarded for their ambition. With 10 points from their first six matches, they’ve already guaranteed they’ll finish the eight match road stretch with more than a point per game.