Have you caught your breath yet, Nashville?
Nashville SC returned home in dramatic fashion this week, scoring stoppage-time goals in back-to-back matches to earn a 3-2 win over Toronto FC and a 1-1 draw with CF Montréal.
Second-year midfielder Luke Haakenson scored in the second minute of stoppage time on Wednesday night to send Nissan Stadium into a frenzy, while Abu Danladi played the hero on Saturday to snatch a draw from the jaws of defeat.
According to Head Coach Gary Smith, it all comes down to an attitude and a belief.
“We’ve been able to recover from some difficult situations already this year, which is great news,” Smith said. “I think that’s a sign of character. That’s a sign of internal belief within the group that there’s always something in the game for us. That’s a great quality to have.”
In addition to frantic stoppage times, this week belonged to the young players on Nashville SC’s roster. Haakenson scored his first two goals in Major League Soccer on Wednesday and earned a start against Montréal on Saturday, while defender Jack Maher scored his first MLS goal on Wednesday night and provided a picture-perfect assist on Danladi’s equalizer on Saturday night.
Midfielder Aníbal Godoy says he’s glad to see more of the team’s young players stepping up in key situations.
“I really feel happy for Jack [Maher] and Luke [Haakenson] and for the other young guys because they are working a lot, and they waited for their moment,” Godoy said. “You see it in each and every training; they are working hard. They improve every day. This is what you see inside the field. Now Jack and Luke, they have more confidence. We try to give them confidence, also, because if they don’t have confidence, I think it’s difficult for them to try to do something on the field. You see all the players when we have a sub, when we have one change, the other player comes to the field, and does the same or better job. This is good for us because we have good competition inside the team.”
Nashville’s lengthy homestand rolls on this week with a matchup on Saturday night against reigning MLS Supporters Shield Champions Philadelphia Union.