NASHVILLE, Tenn. (July 23, 2023)– Nashville Soccer Club inaugurated its Leagues Cup 2023 run with a 2-1 victory over the Colorado Rapids in its first group stage match on Sunday night at GEODIS Park. Hany Mukhtar scored the opening goal and assisted Jacob Shaffelburg on the eventual match-winner.
After a cagey first half, the reigning Landon Donovan MLS MVP made an instant impact after entering the match in the 55th minute. Barely two minutes onto the pitch, Mukhtar started a counterattack and finished a spinning feed from Dax McCarty to put the Boys in Gold up by one.
Mukhtar assisted Shaffelburg with a goal-line cross to the back post in the 65th minute to double Nashville’s advantage. In the 80th minute, Colorado’s Andrew Gutman took a shot that deflected past Joe Willis and into the back of the net to pull one back for the Rapids. The Boys in Gold withstood a last-gasp barrage from the Rapids and held on for the win.
The Shaffelburg Shuffle: The Canadian international was instrumental in his first start since returning from the 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup duty. His second-half goal was his fourth across all competitions this season.
Mukhtar Making Moves: Sunday’s match saw the MVP return to form with multiple goal contributions at GEODIS Park for the first time since his hat trick against St. Louis CITY SC on June 17. Mukhtar earned the Man of the Match award with his performance.
Godoy to See Ya: After reaching the Gold Cup Final as captain of Panama, midfielder Aníbal Godoy returned to the pitch sporting Electric Gold in the 55th minute for the first time since June 10. Godoy was accurate on 28 of his 29 passes (97% accuracy) and made two interceptions in 35 minutes.
Toluca Up Next: Nashville SC will round out the Leagues Cup group stage at 7:30 p.m. CT on Thursday when it hosts Liga MX’s Toluca at GEODIS Park. A win of any kind would clinch the top spot in the Central 4 Group for Nashville and a guaranteed home match in the Round of 32, while a penalty shootout loss would clinch at least a berth in the knockout stage. Tickets can be purchased here.
NSH 57’ - Hany Mukhtar receives a turnaround pass from Dax McCarty, fires a deflected shot past the goalkeeper
NSH 65’ - Mukhtar cuts in from the right flank and lays a cross to Jacob Shaffelburg for a tap-in at the back post
COL 80’ - Andrew Gutman runs from midfield and takes a deflected shot through traffic in front that finds the back of the net
- Nashville SC:
- has recorded 10 multi-goal performances in GEODIS Park across all competitions in 2023
- ended the night first in its Leagues Cup group standings
- Sean Davis led the team with 0.2 expected assists (xA)
- Dax McCarty captained the team to its first Leagues Cup 2023 win
- Shaq Moore led the team with 10 duels
- Hany Mukhtar
- led the team with four shots on target
- recorded his first goal at GEODIS Park since his hat trick performance against St. Louis CITY SC on June 17, 2023
- recorded his first multi-goal contribution match since his June 17 hat trick
- recorded his first goal contribution at GEODIS Park since notching an assist against D.C. United on July 1, 2023
- Alex Muyl led the team with two tackles won
- Jacob Shaffelburg
- started his first match after returning from international duty with Canada in the 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup
- recorded his first goal in GEODIS Park since Apr. 29, 2023 vs. Atlanta United FC
- led the team with 0.44 expected goals (xG)
Nashville SC (1W-0L-0SOW, 3 pts) vs. Colorado Rapids (0W-1L-0SOW, 0 pts)
July 23, 2023 – GEODIS Park
NSH: Hany Mukhtar (A: Dax McCarty) 57’
NSH: Jacob Shaffelburg (A: Hany Mukhtar) 65’
COL: Andrew Gutman (Unassisted) 80’
NSH: Teal Bunbury (Caution) 90’+3
NSH Starters: Joe Willis; Dan Lovitz, Lukas MacNaughton, Josh Bauer (Walker Zimmerman 55’), Shaq Moore; Dax McCarty, Randall Leal (Fafà Picault 69’), Alex Muyl (Hany Mukhtar 55’), Sean Davis (Aníbal Godoy 55’); Teal Bunbury, Jacob Shaffelburg (Taylor Washington 77’)
Substitutes: Ethan Zubak, Laurence Wyke, Ján Greguš, Luke Haakenson, Tah Brian Anunga, Elliot Panicco, Ben Martino
COL Starters: Keegan Rosenberry; Danny Wilson, Andreas Maxso, Andrew Gutman, Calvin Harris (Moise Bombito 60’), Connor Ronan, William Yarbrough, Cole Bassett (Sam Nicholson 86’), Braian Galvan (Michael Barrios 71’), Darren Yapi (Kevin Cabral 71’), Ralph-william Johnson Priso-mbongue (Bryan Acosta 60’)
Substitutes: Marko Ilic, Daniel Leyva, Abraham Rodriguez, Sebastian Anderson, Steven Beitashour
Referee: David Gomez Araya
AR1: Juan Carlos Mora Araya
AR2: Carlos Fernandez Castro
4TH Official: Josue Ugalde Aguilar
VAR: Oscar Mejia Garcia
AVAR: Fabio Tovar
Weather: Clear, 82 degrees