Match Recaps

Nashville SC Shuts Down Eastern Conference Leaders to Extend Unbeaten Streak to Four

2021.05.05 NER-84

NASHVILLE – After four weeks of play, four unbeaten teams remain in Major League Soccer.

Two of them played in the 2020 Audi MLS Cup Final. The two other, including Nashville SC, came two wins away from it.

The Boys in Gold earned their fourth consecutive results with a 2-0 victory over Eastern Conference leaders New England Revolution. Nashville SC Captain Dax McCarty was excited to finally get in the home win before heading on the road this week.

“We’re relieved to get the victory,” McCarty said. “Four-game homestand, we wanted to get a win today, especially against what I think is the best team we’ve played so far this year. It was really important that we put on a performance and get the win tonight.”

Forward CJ Sapong’s goal in the 25th minute on a Walker Zimmerman cross gave Nashville the 1-0 advantage.

A change in formation gave the MLS veteran a place in the starting lineup for the first time this season alongside fellow forward Dominique Badji. Sapong was thrilled to make an impact right away in just his fourth appearance for the club.

“When I knew I was coming to this team, my goal was to score goals and bring wins,” Sapong said. “Coming into the starting lineup, first and foremost, I just want to bring energy to the team, and when the game’s over to be able to see myself on the stat sheet and see us have three points. It feels really, really good, and is obviously more motivation to continue that same vibe.”

Midfielder Alex Muyl also had an important day, scoring his first goal for the club since joining Nashville SC in August of 2020. His right-footed strike to the bottom corner in the 75th minute gave Nashville some breathing room and put the match on ice.

Smith says he was delighted to see Muyl’s hard work finally pay off on the scoreboard.

“What you know is you’re just going to get a tireless worker and a great teammate for even the minimal foundation from Alex,” Smith said. “What we’re starting to see now is him adding to that quality and adding to the dimensions of his game. And that can only be good for him and for the team.”

Saturday’s win over New England gives Nashville an even brighter outlook moving forward into the club’s first road trip of the season against Salt Lake City this Saturday night. The Boys in Gold are unbeaten through four matches and are feeling confident moving into the heart of the season, including the club’s first match in front of a near full capacity crowd on May 23 against MLS newcomers Austin FC.

“I’ve seen this team fight, work and create,” Smith said. “They’ve got a very good balance, and I think leading into the game they should’ve felt incredibly confident about their form. It was always going to be a tough game, one that maybe we could measure ourselves against, and of course desperate to get ourselves a win. It all turned out how we might have wanted it, and I think we’ve got ourselves in a very decent position.”

Catch the Boys in Gold taking on Real Salt Lake this Saturday, starting at 8 p.m. CT with the pregame show on MyTV30, ESPN 94.9 and El Jefe 96.7. Tickets for the May 23 match against Austin FC are on sale here.