It’s not every day that a match can leave you feeling satisfied, yet hoping to get better.
That’s exactly what happened with Nashville SC’s 2-2 draw against CF Montréal on Saturday afternoon at Nissan Stadium. For the second week in a row, the Boys in Gold battled back from a 2-0 first-half deficit to earn a come-from-behind point.
It was a similar scenario to the one Nashville faced on opening night against FC Cincinnati. Head Coach Gary Smith praised his team for sparking another comeback, but lamented the fact that a comeback was necessary, and that the team couldn’t find a winning goal.
“It felt like déjà vu a little bit,” Smith said. “Two goals early in the game and a big hole to dig ourselves out of. Nowhere near as many efforts at goal, but you’re just not going to get that against good teams. However, a far more positive and aggressive display almost from the middle part of the first half on. And to be honest, that’s going to prove far too difficult to keep dragging ourselves out of. So, I’m pleased we have a point, and we haven’t been beaten. I’m frustrated that we’ve conceded two goals, and I’m very frustrated that we haven’t won one of these two first home games.”
Winger Randall Leal and forward Jhonder Cádiz once again led the charge for the comeback, as Leal assisted Cádiz for the first goal to cut the deficit in half in the 54’ minute. In the 77’ minute, midfielder Hany Mukhtar got his first goal of the season to level the score.
Through two matches, Nashville SC has put up a combined total of 49 shots and 21 shots on target, both leading Major League Soccer. Smith says he’s “ecstatic” at the chances being created by the offense, and he’s particularly excited to see what Cádiz can do as he continues to round into form with two goals in two matches.
“I’m delighted for Jhonder,” Smith said. “Two goals, and I still don’t think he’s fully fit. He’s had an injury in preseason, and he’s still working his way back to full health. If he’s not at full health, then I would imagine there’s got to be a huge plus for him and the team. When he is in his sharpest condition, I think he’ll cause defenders a serious problem.”
This week, as Smith breaks down what went well and what went wrong on Saturday afternoon, the Gaffer has the delicate job of coaching his players to continue the offensive barrage that has helped the team earn two points in two matches, as well as clean up the defensive aspects of the game that have put the team down 2-0 in two consecutive matches.
“It’ll take probably a couple more days for me to evaluate the game film when I look at it,” Smith said. “But there are lots and lots of positives to come out of our play at the moment. However, to concede two goals in the two opening games at home is something that we have to consider very heavily. Moving forward, we have to improve.”
Nashville SC hosts Inter Miami CF on Sunday at noon CT in a nationally-televised clash of 2020 expansion sides presented by Hyundai on ESPN. Tickets are available now.