Recap: Nashville draw in Toronto

A second-half Sean Johnson goalkeeping gaffe gave Nashville SC a 1-1 draw on the road against Toronto FC. It’s the second time these two sides have split the points this season.

The XI

With Walker Zimmerman allowed to leave Nashville early to join the USMNT’s Nations League training camp, Gary Smith was left with Jack Maher and Lucas MacNaughton as the first choice pairing.

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Aníbal Godoy dropped to the bench in favor of Sean Davis, but otherwise it was a standard lineup for the ‘Yotes.

On the pitch

Toronto were superior in the first half. Nashville failed to register a shot on target until after the break, while Toronto created plenty of chances. This was exacerbated by a first-half injury to Lukas MacNaughton, who was forced off after 27 minutes with what he later described as groin tightness. Josh Bauer subbed in for just his third MLS appearance and performed admirably, but Toronto were certainly on the front foot.

The hosts were rewarded after 38 minutes through the highest paid player in MLS. Lorenzo Insigne cut inside Shaq Moore, curling a world-class shot past Joe Willis into the top corner.

After the break, Nashville SC flipped the flow of the game. The visitors began to find more space in the final third, and created a handful of opportunities. Teal Bunbury hit the post twice, and Hany Mukhtar, who overall had a quiet evening, saw a header cleared off the line.

It was substitute Randall Leal who made the difference, with a helping hand from Sean Johnson. The substitute scored his first goal since August 27, 2022, thumping a shot straight at Johnson. The US international ‘keeper should have handled the effort, but somehow spilled it over his own head and into the goal, giving Nashville a point on the road.

The big picture

It certainly wasn’t pretty, but Nashville extended their league unbeaten streak to nine games, matching the club record they set last summer.

There may be some disappointment at drawing a bad Toronto side twice this season, but the scoreless draw at Geodis Park was a much worse result. A point at a difficult BMO Field isn’t a poor result, although the ‘Yotes did miss an opportunity to gain ground on FC Cincinnati, who drew 1-1 in Vancouver.

Nashville will have a week off, before hosting expansion side St. Louis CITY SC at Geodis Park on June 17.

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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