Nashville SC (6W-1L-9D, 3rd in Eastern Conference) rolls into Foxboro on Wednesday night to face the New England Revolution (11W-3L-3D) in the second of three consecutive road matches.
It’ll be the second time Nashville SC takes on the Eastern Conference leaders this season, having taken down the Revolution on May 8 in a 2-0 win at Nissan Stadium.
The Boys in Gold enter this match on an eight-match unbeaten run and coming off a hard-fought 1-1 draw in Canada at Toronto FC on Sunday night.
Here’s everything you need to know about Wednesday’s match:
Date: Wednesday, August 4
Time: 6:00 p.m. CT
Location: Gillette Stadium
English Radio: ESPN 94.9
Spanish Radio: El Jefe 96.7
Clutch Caste – Nashville SC’s unsung hero on Sunday night against Toronto FC was defender Robert Castellanos, who was tapped to make his Major League Soccer debut only an hour before kickoff, according to Head Coach Gary Smith. Castellanos made an immediate impact, scoring his first MLS goal in the 41’ minute and making 14 clearances on the night, the most by any Nashville SC player in a single match this season. His efforts earned him a spot on the MLS Team of the Week.
He was the latest in a string of players stepping up when needed to help keep the club on an eight-match unbeaten streak. Taylor Washington, Jack Maher, Eric Miller, Jalil Anibaba and Dylan Nealis all made their first starts of the season during this streak due to absences from the Concacaf Gold Cup, injuries and a busy schedule dating back to June.
With Wednesday’s match coming only 72 hours after the Toronto trip, and another road clash coming up on Sunday against Inter Miami CF, there could be an even bigger need for players to step up to the plate when needed this week.
“Robert was the next man up,” Head Coach Gary Smith said. “He’s been very determined, patient, and certainly has improved and honed his trade at the club since coming in. For all these guys that are not getting regular minutes, it’s really important that they stay focused, work hard, and they’re ready to take their chance. If you look at the way Robert just conducted himself – forget about the goal – his presence, his ability to read aerial threats and get his head on the ball, his composure and his sound possessional play, I’m not sure I’ve seen many defensive debuts that are better than that.”
Long Throw Runnin’ - The Boys in Gold have had no problem scoring goals in its recent run, netting a total of 11 in the month of July. However, they still brought out the bag of tricks to find the back of the net against Toronto on Sunday.
Defender Dave Romney tossed a long throw-in toward the 18-yard box, where Castellanos waited to flick a header past Toronto goalkeeper Alex Bono in the 41’ minute.
Smith says Romney has been a stalwart for Nashville this season, playing every single minute of 2021 after playing all 2400 minutes of the club’s inaugural MLS season. Even as the personnel around him has shifted, Romney has acted far from curmudgeonly.
“Dave’s been as good as it gets, as far as professionals,” Smith said. “We’ve seen this individual in every single minute of last year’s campaign, and he’s tracking in the same way this year. It’s not just about the standard of his performances ... He looks after himself, he’s a great pro, and I’m not sure that there’s too many people that can churn out the type of work and performances that he does.”
Reigniting The Revolution – The Boys in Gold have done something only two other MLS teams have done this season: beat New England.
Nashville SC earned its first win of the season on May 8 against New England. CJ Sapong and Alex Muyl each scored their first goals for Nashville in the 2-0 victory.
Since that match, New England has lost just twice and has opened up an eight-point cushion as the top club in the Eastern Conference. In that same span, Nashville SC lost just once and propelled itself up to third place in the Eastern Conference.
Both teams are in the top tier of offenses in the league as well. New England leads the league in goals with 33, while Nashville sits tied for sixth with 25 goals. However, Nashville is also one of the best in the league defensively as well, conceding the second-fewest goals in the league (15), while New England is in the bottom half with 21 goals conceded.
Don’t miss this top-of-the-standings battle at 6:00 p.m. CT on MyTV30 and NashvilleSC.com/stream.