Press Releases

Walker Zimmerman Scores Game-Winning Goal as Nashville SC Opens 2023 Season with a Victory

2023.02.25 NYCFC MATCH-68

NASHVILLE, Tenn (Feb. 25, 2023) – Nashville Soccer Club opened the 2023 Major League Soccer season with a 2-0 victory over New York City FC in front of a crowd of 28,051 at GEODIS Park. Jacob Shaffelburg scored the insurance goal for Nashville SC in the 80th minute.

Welcome To Our Ring Of Fire: Defender Walker Zimmerman anchored the backline to a shutout tonight and scored the game-winning goal for Nashville SC after finding the back of the net in the first half. As a homage to Johnny Cash, Zimmerman ran to the corner flag using it as a mic and singing the song “Ring of Fire”.

That’s Our MVP: After entering the match as a sub in the 75th minute, 2022 Landon Donovan MLS MVP Hany Mukhtar made an immediate impact on the pitch running through the New York defense and setting up Shaffelburg who scored the second goal of the contest five minutes after Mukhtar’s arrival.

What A Night In Black: For the first time in club history Nashville SC did not wear gold in a home contest as Nashville SC sported its new Man in Black Kit on Saturday. The night honored Johnny Cash with the inspired kits musical performances from his son John Carter Cash.

Next Match: Nashville SC will take on the New York Red Bulls next Saturday, March 4 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CT and will be televised on the MLS Season Pass on the Apple TV App.

Match Timeline

NSH 29’: Off a set piece, Fafà Picault keeps the play alive in the box directing the ball towards Walker Zimmerman who hammers in the attempt

NSH: 80’: Hany Mukhtar darts through the New York City defense and dishes off a pass to Jacob Shaffelburg who slots home the second goal


  • Nashville SC:
    • competed in the Eastern Conference for the first time since 2021 after being in the Western Conference in 2022
    • is now 2W-1L-2D all-time in season openers
    • remains unbeaten against NYCFC (2W-0L-1D)
    • has +4 goal differential all-time against NYC
    • had a higher expected goals tonight (1.32-0.41)
    • owns an all-time record of 23W-13L-25D against the Eastern Conference
    • is now 21W-7D-20D all-time at home
    • is 31W-4L-14D when scoring the first goal all-time
    • is 6W-0L-8D all-time when scoring two goals or more in a match
  • Teal Bunbury made his 338th career regular season appearance, tied with Diego Chara for sixth all-time among active players
  • Dan Lovitz made his 80th appearance all-time for Nashville SC
  • Fafà Picault made his Nashville SC debut, recording the game-winning assist
  • Jacob Shaffelburg
    • scored his third career goal for Nashville SC
    • has scored three goals in nine starts for Nashville SC
  • Joe Willis earned his 50th career shutout, 32nd with Nashville tonight.
  • Walker Zimmerman
    • captained Nashville SC for the 20th time in his career, the second most by a player in club history
    • has now scored the first goal of the season for Nashville SC in two of its four MLS seasons
    • recorded his 23rd career goal, 11th with Nashville SC

Box Score:

Nashville SC (1W-0L-0D, 3 pts.) vs. New York City FC (0W-1L-0D, 0 pts.)

Feb. 25, 2023 – GEODIS Park

Final Score
NSH: 2
NYC: 0

Scoring Summary

NSH: Walker Zimmerman (Fafà Picault) 34’

NSH: Jacob Shaffelburg (Hany Mukhtar) 80’


NYC: Braian Cufré (caution) 28’

NSH: Jacob Shaffelburg (caution) 58’

NYC: Talles Magno (caution) 62’

NYC: Maxime Chanot (caution) 90+3’

NSH Starters: Joe Willis; Daniel Lovitz, Jack Maher, Shaq Moore, Walker Zimmerman (C); Randall Leal (Hany Mukhtar 76’), Jacob Shaffelburg (Luke Haakenson 82’), Anibal Godoy, Sean Davis; Fafa Picault (Alex Muyl 72’), Teal Bunbury (Ethan Zubak 82’)

Substitutes: Dax McCarty, Josh Bauer, Taylor Washington, Brian Anunga, Elliot Panicco

NYC Starters: Luis Barraza; Braian Cufré (Kevin O’Toole 70’), Maxime Chanot (C), Thiago Martins, Tayvon Gray (Mitja Ilenic 82’), Justin Haak; Thiago, Gabriel Pereira, Matias Pellegrini, Keaton Parks; Talles Magno

Substitutes: Alfredo Morales, Malte Amundsen, Gabe Segal, Andres Jasson, Nicholas Benalcazar, Matt Freese, Tony Alfaro

Referee: Armando Villarreal

AR1: Cory Richardson

AR2: Brian Dunn

4th Official: Nima Saghafi

VAR: Jair Marrufo

AVAR: Claudiu Badead

Weather: Cloudy, 50 degrees