LOS ANGELES (Oct. 9, 2022) – Nashville Soccer Club made history winning a club record 13th match of the season in a 1-0 victory over the Supporters Shield Champion LAFC on MLS Decision Day. With the victory, Nashville SC concluded the season tied for fourth place in the Western Conference, yet seeded fifth due to tiebreaker. Teal Bunbury earned the game-winning goal with Joe Willis setting a career-high 14 saves in the shutout victory, the most saves of any keeper in MLS this season.
Nashville SC returns to the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs for its third consecutive season since joining the league in 2020, and becomes one of six teams in MLS to make the playoffs in all those three years. Following a special season that started with eight matches on the road, the Boys in Gold will return to Southern California next weekend to face the LA Galaxy in the First Round of the Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs. Kickoff time and date of the match will be announced in the coming hours.
Landon Donovan MLS MVP frontrunner Hany Mukhtar secured the league’s honor of the 2022 MLS Golden Boot, presented by Audi after scoring a league-high 23 goals. Mukhtar becomes the first Nashville SC player and first German player in league history to win the award.
Mukhtar scored 21 of his 23 goals in the final 22 games of the season. His late-season surge culminated in a league-high 11 goals since the start of August with 10 of those coming at GEODIS Park. Mukhtar’s 23 goals are also a single-season club record and the most by an MLS player in a single season since 2019. Mukhtar has accounted for 44.2% of Nashville’s goals (23 of 52) in 2022, which is the highest percentage in MLS this season. Mukhtar finished as the league leader in goal contributions with 34.
Mukhtar joins Carlos Vela (2019), Sebastian Giovinco (2015), and Jeff Cunningham (2006) as the only players since 2005 to win the MLS Golden Boot presented by Audi and also record 10 assists in the same season. Nashville is the fifth expansion club since 2005 to have a player earn the honor within their first three MLS seasons.
Mukhtar has been involved in over half of Nashville SC’s regular season goals (70 of 131) in club history and is the all-time leader in goals (43) and assists (27). Since the beginning of the 2021 season, Mukhtar has recorded 39 goals, the most of any player in MLS. He has recorded 62 goal contributions in that span, which is 19 more than the next closest player (Carles Gil, 43).
NSH 45+1’: Joe Willis denies Cristian Arango from the penalty spot
NSH 53’: Off a corner kick from Hany Mukhtar, Sean Davis redirects the attempt to Teal Bunbury who scores the opening goal
- Nashville SC:
- is the fifth ever team to clinch a playoff berth in their first three consecutive seasons (Chicago Fire, Seattle Sounders FC, Atlanta United FC, LAFC)
- is now 2W-0L-1D all-time, and has won both road contests on Decision Day
- has scored in 19 consecutive MLS matches, and 30 of its 34 matches this season, tied with LAFC (30) for the most this season
- defeated LAFC for the first time, giving them their second home loss of the season
- set a club record for road wins in a season with seven; only CF Montréal (11), LAFC (8) and Austin FC (8) have won more road matches this season
- have not lost a road contest since July 9
- scored more road goals this season (22) than any season prior
- allowed just 20 goals away from GEODIS Park this season, the lowest total in the Western Conference
- finished the season with the third fewest goals allowed in the Western Conference
- will face LA Galaxy in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs; finished the season 0W-1L-1D against LAG
- Sean Davis was the only Nashville SC player to appear in every match this season
- Jack Maher made his 50th career MLS regular season appearance
- Joe Willis
- set a career-high for saves in a match with 14
- recorded the most saves by a keeper this season
- with 14 saves marks the sixth time in MLS history with at least 14 saves and the most since Maxime Crepeau (16 saves, MLS record) on 08/24/2019 at SJ
- earned his second penalty save of the season; tying a career-high for penalty saves in a season
- Walker Zimmerman faced LAFC for the first time at Banc of California Stadium since being traded by LAFC to Nashville SC prior to the 2020 season
Nashville SC (13W-10L-12D, 50 pts.) vs. LAFCFC (21W-8L-4D, 67 pts.)
October 9, 2022 – Banc of California Stadium
NSH: Teal Bunbury (unassisted) 53’
NSH: Dax McCarty (caution) 9’
NSH: Tah Brian Anunga (caution) 55’
NSH: CJ Sapong (caution) 81’
NSH: Joe Willis; Daniel Lovitz, Dave Romney, Walker Zimmerman (Jack Maher 46’), Shaq Moore; Dax McCarty (C) (Tah Brian Anunga 46’), Hany Mukhtar, Jacob Shaffelburg (Aníbal Godoy 78’), Sean Davis; Randall Leal (Eric Miller 68’), Teal Bunbury (CJ Sapong 74’)
Unused Substitutes: Ake Loba, Taylor Washington, Luke Haakenson, Tah Brian Anunga, Elliot Panicco
LAFC: Maxime Crepeau,Eddie Segura, Diego Palacios, Giorgio Chiellini, Ryan Hollingshead (Franco Escobar 78’); Ilie Sanchez, (Latif Blessing 60’) Jose Cifuentes 60’), Kellyn Acosta (Sebastian Mendez 78’; Cristian Arango (Kwadwo Opoku 60’), Carlos Vela (C) (Cristian Tello 40’),Denis Bouanga
Unused Substitutes: Gareth Bale, Sebastien Ibeagha, John McCarthy
Referee: Ted Unkel
AR1: Jeremy Hanson
AR2: Ryan Graves
4th Official: Adam Kilpatrick
VAR: Kevin Terry Jr
AVAR: Robert Schaap
Weather: Clear, 79 degrees