Nashville Soccer Club Falls to Liga MX's Toluca in Final Group Stage Match of 2023 Leagues Cup  


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (July 27, 2023) Nashville Soccer Club fell 4-3 in a back-and-forth Leagues Cup group stage match against Liga MX’s Toluca on Thursday at GEODIS Park. Walker Zimmerman, Fafà Picault and Luke Haakenson all scored in an effort that came up just short of earning at least a point.  

Nashville SC got the early advantage in the third minute thanks to a Walker Zimmerman header off a corner kick. The two-time MLS Defender of the Year rose up at the near post to meet a Dan Lovitz service and nod it past the goalkeeper to put Nashville up 1-0. Toluca answered in the 27th minute with a goal from Marcel Ruiz.  

In the 37th minute, Fafà Picault got past a defender at midfield on a Jacob Shaffelburg feed, got past another in the box and scored to the lower-left corner to restore Nashville SC’s lead. Toluca equalized again in the 44th minute through another Ruiz goal, then took the lead in first-half stoppage time through a Tiago Volpi penalty.  

Toluca would add one more in the 60th minute through Robert Morales to make it 4-2. In the 70th minute, Luke Haakenson found the end of a deflected cross from Shaffelburg to cut the deficit to 4-3.  

Thor Hammers Another: Zimmerman opened his goal account in Leagues Cup play, marking his second in three matches across all competitions and third goal of the season across all competitions.  

Let Fafà Cook: Picault’s first-half goal was his sixth goal of the season across all competitions. It was also his first since May 28.  

On to the Knockouts: The Boys in Gold will see their Leagues Cup knockout stage fate decided on Monday when Toluca and Colorado Rapids face off to close out group play. Fans can watch that match starting at 8:30 p.m. CT on MLS Season Pass on the Apple TV app. 

Welcome to Nashville: Prior to the match, newly signed Designated Player Sam Surridge was officially introduced to the media and the fans. Assets from the press conference and official on-field presentation can be found in the Media Resources section. 

Match Timeline:     

NSH 3’: Dan Lovitz takes a corner kick, and Walker Zimmerman gets up to nod it home   

TOL 27’: Marcel Ruiz finds the net at the end of a Maximiliano Araújo cross in front of goal  

NSH 37’: Jacob Shaffelburg sends a ball through the midfield to find Fafà Picault on the counterattack, who tucks it past the keeper  

TOL 44’: Marcel Ruiz and Robert Morales connect as Ruiz knocks it into the upper left corner of the net 

TOL 45’ + 7: Nashville SC is called for a handball inside the penalty box, and Tiago Volpi converts the penalty kick 

TOL 62’: Pedro Garay flicks the ball to Robert Morales in the box, who finds the back of the net 

NSH 70’: Luke Haakenson finds the back of the net after Jacob Shaffelburg and Hany Mukhtar connect to get the ball into the box 


  • Nashville SC:
    • has recorded 11 multi-goal performances in GEODIS Park across all competitions in 2023  
    • saw the highest-scoring half in Nashville’s history at GEODIS Park with five goals between the two sides in the first 45 minutes  
    • saw three different players open their Leagues Cup goal-scoring: Walker Zimmerman, Fafà Picault and Luke Haakenson 
    • saw its second substitute goal in Leagues Cup, as Haakenson followed the lead of Hany Mukhtar in the previous match and scored eight minutes after entering the pitch; Mukhtar scored just two minutes after entering the pitch in Nashville’s first Group Stage match 

·         Teal Bunbury received two yellow cards and was subsequently ejected; he will be unavailable if Nashville SC moves to the Round of 32   

·         Luke Haakenson led the team in expected goals (xG) with 0.91  

·         Shaq Moore led the team with a duel percentage of 71.4% and five tackles 

·         Hany Mukhtar led the team with three shots 

·         Elliot Panicco recorded hist first start of Leagues Cup play  

·         Jacob Shaffelburg  led the team with two assists  

Box Score:             

Nashville SC (1W-1L-0D, 0SOW, 3 pts) vs. Toluca (1W-0L-0D, 0SOW, 3 pts)  

July 27, 2023 – GEODIS Park  

Final Score:            

NSH: 3  

TOL: 4  

Scoring Summary:            

NSH: Walker Zimmerman (A: Dan Lovitz) 3’  

TOL: Marcel Ruiz (A: Maximiliano Araujo) 27’ 

NSH: Fafà Picault (A: Jacob Shaffelburg) 37’  

TOL: Marcel Ruiz (A: Robert Morales) 44’ 

TOL: Tiago Volpi (Penalty Kick) 45’ + 7 

TOL: Robert Morales (A: Pedro Garay) 62’ 

NSH: Luke Haakenson (A: Hany Mukhtar) 70’  


NSH: Fafà Picault (Caution) 22’  

TOL: Brian Garcia (Caution) 66’ 

NSH: Jacob Shaffelburg (Caution) 66’ 

NSH: Teal Bunbury (Caution) 67’ 

NSH: Luke Haakeson (Caution) 77’  

NSH: Teal Bunbury (Second Caution, Ejection) 86’  

TOL: Maximiliano Araujo (Caution) 90’ + 2 

NSH Starters: Elliot Panicco; Dan Lovitz (Taylor Washington 77’), Josh Bauer (Lukas MacNaughton 77’), Walker Zimmerman (C), Shaq Moore; Alex Muyl (Teal Bunbury 45’), Aníbal Godoy, Tah Brian Anunga (Ján Greguš 62’), Hany Mukhtar; Jacob Shaffelburg, Fafà Picault (Luke Haakenson 62’) 

Substitutes: Joe Willis, Dax McCarty, Ethan Zubak, Laurence Wyke, Sean Davis, Ben Martino 

TOL Starters: Tiago Volpi; Valber Huerta (C), Juan Dominguez, Maximiliano Araujo, Marcel Ruiz (Jesus Angulo 80’), Jean Meneses, Edgar Lopez (Pedro Garay 45’), Claudio Baeza, Andrews Mosquera, Adrian Mora (Brian Garcia 41’), Robert Morales 

Substitutes:Jesus Piñuelas, Carlos Orrantia, Mauricio Isais, Fernando Navarro, Luis Garcia, Jesus Venegas, Ronaldo Beltran, Abraham Villegas, Isaias Violante  

Match Officials:      

Referee: Ricardo Montero  

AR1: Henri Antonio Pupiro Esquivel  

AR2: Victor Rabian Ramirez Fonseca 

4TH Official: Steffon Sean Sewar 

VAR: Luis Enrique Santader Aguirre 

AVAR: Oscar Macias Romo 

Weather: Clear, 90 degrees