Nashville SC (7W-5L-6D, 27 pts.) is back on the road this Saturday night for a nationally-televised clash at Charlotte FC (7W-10L-2D, 23 pts.) as part of Heineken Rivalry Week.
This will be the first-ever meeting between the Boys in Gold and the 2022 Major League Soccer expansion side. Nashville is coming off a 2-2 draw at home against the Portland Timbers on Sunday night. Sean Davis scored his first goal for Nashville SC, while Hany Mukhtar added his ninth goal of the season, good for fourth-best among MLS players.
Mukhtar leads all MLS players with 42 goal contributions (25 goals, 17 assists) since 2021. The German midfielder’s six road goals this season are tied for the most in MLS with San Jose Earthquakes’ Jeremy Ebobisse.
Saturday’s match will be one of just six road contests remaining for Nashville SC. In its last two road matches, the Boys in Gold have scored a total of six goals en route to two wins.
Here is everything you need to know about Saturday’s match:
Date: Saturday, July 9
Time: 6:00 p.m. CT
Location: Bank of America Stadium (Charlotte, N.C.)
TV: FS1, FOX Deportes
Web Stream: FoxSports.com, FOX Sports App
English Radio: iHeartRadio Online, Nashville SC App
Spanish Radio: El Jefe 96.7 FM
Watch Party: Fat Bottom
Road Warriors – Nashville SC owns a 5W-4L-2D road record this season, including wins in its last two road matches. Those five wins put the team third in MLS and second in the Western Conference in away victories.
This season, the Boys in Gold have won both road matches against Eastern Conference teams: a 1-0 win at Columbus Crew on April 2 and a 3-1 win at D.C. United on June 25. Overall, Nashville owns a 3W-0L-2D record against Eastern Conference opponents in 2022.
Head Coach Gary Smith said the team has been able to take a stronger approach to some of its road matches this season than in years past.
“With eight games in the early stages of the season away, I think the guys got themselves in a particular mindset,” Smith said. “I think the development and the positive steps that this group has taken and how they’ve grown has meant that we’ve been able to attack games in a more aggressive manner. I think that’s given us a better platform, a better mindset and a better return.”
Bounce Back Mentality – The Boys in Gold will be looking to respond after a 2-2 draw at home against the Portland Timbers on Sunday. Two second-half goals for the Timbers turned the match around after the Boys in Gold went up 2-0.
Smith says the team has shown its ability to bounce back before.
“It’s been a feature of this group that when we’ve had the odd situation that has left us a bit deflated and disappointed, that they’ve come back in the following week going into the next game with a renewed vigor, a steely glint in their eye to get back on track and make the most of the games that we have left,” Smith said. “It’s been a very good week. At the end of three matches in a short period of time again last week, I think we can safely say that they’ll be in the right place mentally and physically at the weekend.”
Scouting Charlotte – The newest club in MLS has made some noise in the Eastern Conference this season, currently sitting two points out of a playoff spot. Charlotte’s 6W-3L-0D home form has been the driving force. Forwards Andre Shinyashiki and Karol Swiderski have led the way in scoring with four goals apiece.
Nashville SC scrimmaged against Charlotte FC in preseason, winning 3-1 at IMG Academy in Florida. However, Smith says the Queen City side has grown in many ways since that scrimmage in February.
“This is not the Charlotte team that we ran into and beat in preseason. They have improved in pretty much all areas of their game since we saw them down in Florida. I honestly think that the confidence of picking up results at home has played a huge part in building the personality and the character of the group that you now see. They look like a team that work very well for each other. They’re more a sum of all of their parts than maybe just two or three individuals. They’re very much in most games. That makes them a really similar group to ourselves. Tough game, tough environment. It looks like they get good support there. They’ll be full of confidence, but so will we. We’ve had some good away results and there’s no reason to believe we can’t get another one in this game.”