Four games into the 2021 season, Nashville SC are one of four Major League Soccer teams yet to lose a match. After a trio of disappointing draws, the Boys In Gold stepped up big in a crucial match against New England Revolution to earn their first three points of the young season.
While we have a small sample size to look at, the numbers back up the eye test. This team is playing really well.
The defensive stats
- Second in MLS in shots allowed per game (8.25)
- Tied for third in MLS in shots on target allowed per game (3)
- Fourth in MLS in in non-penalty xG against per game (1.90)
- Seventh in MLS in goals against average
- Limiting opponents shots to 56% inside the box (last year Nashville allowed 55%)
The attacking stats
- Four consecutive matches with double digit shots
- First in MLS in shots (75) and shots on target (31)
- First in MLS expected goals (7.59)
- Tied for sixth in MLS in goals scored (6)
- Third in MLS in expected points (7.76)
- Outshot opponents 75-33 in four matches
- 73% of shots in 2021 have come from inside the penalty area (vs 59% in 2020)
Throughout their time in MLS, Gary Smith’s side has shown a remarkable consistency. Nashville have yet to lose the expected goals battle in a match by more than 1.87, a mark set in a 0-0 draw in New England where Derrick Jones started at striker.
The last 15 matches
Going back to the end of the 2020 season, when Nashville’s attackers finally rounded into form, this side hasn’t just been ok. They’ve been excellent. Kickstarted by a 3-1 win in Houston, Nashville has quietly been one of the most consistent sides in the league.
In their last 15 matches, Nashville has won seven, drawn five and lost just three. In that same stretch, they’ve put up some of the best numbers in MLS.
- Fourth in MLS in goals scored (23)
- First in MLS in goals allowed per game (0.86)
- First in MLS in shots taken (205)
- Second in MLS in expected goals (20.44)
- First in MLS in expected goals allowed per game (1.01)
- Tied for first in MLS in total points (20)
Nashville’s on-field performances haven’t been a fluke to start the season. They’ve continued the form the found at the end of their expansion season, and despite not getting the the six points they deserved from their first two matches, they’ve quietly been excellent.
Nashville may be flying under the radar just a bit.