With nine straight unbeaten in hand, fourth-place Nashville SC (6W-1L-10D, 28 pts) heads to South Florida to take on Inter Miami CF (3W-8L-4D, 13 pts), on Sunday night at DRV PNK Stadium.
The Boys in Gold are capping off a three-match road trip, its longest run of consecutive matches away from home so far this season. Nashville has drawn its last two matches on the road, including a point earned on Wednesday night against the Eastern Conference-leading New England Revolution.
Here’s everything you need to know about Sunday’s match:
Date: Sunday, August 8
Time: 5:00 p.m. CT
Location: DRV PNK Stadium (Ft. Lauderdale, Florida)
English Radio: ESPN 94.9
Spanish Radio: El Jefe 96.7
Ran with the Revs - Nashville SC is coming off a 0-0 draw at New England Revolution on Wednesday night, remaining the only club this season to hold the Eastern Conference leaders scoreless. New England striker Gustavo Bou, who remains tied for second in the league in goals, was held to just two shots on target with an individual expected goals of just 0.15.
The draw was also goalkeeper Joe Willis’ Major League Soccer-leading eighth clean sheet of the season, and his third on the road. The Boys in Gold will look to continue its strong defensive road form on Sunday. In its last three road matches, Nashville has given up just one goal, and has not given up a goal from open play in those matches.
The Young and the Rested – Nashville SC’s leading attackers CJ Sapong, Hany Mukhtar and Randall Leal were able to rest on Wednesday, each only making an appearance as a second-half substitute.
Smith says he hopes that little bit of rest will go a long way towards keeping the attack fresh on Sunday against Inter Miami CF.
“The last six weeks, those guys have been stalwarts in this team,” Smith said. “They’re unbeaten since they’ve come in the group. So there’s some rotation to be had, and the guys who came on did a fabulous job. It’s not easy coming off the bench, especially with the conditions that we’d had. And my hope is that some of those guys that have not gotten as many minutes are maybe going to be in a better spot for the weekend.”
Measuring Up in Miami – Inter Miami CF currently sit at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings with just three wins on the season, only one of which has come at home. However, they are on a three-match unbeaten run, including this week’s 1-1 draw on the road at Orlando City SC.
Nashville has had plenty of success against their 2020 MLS expansion siblings, winning two and drawing two of its four meetings with Inter Miami CF. The South Florida side has yet to score against Nashville SC in its MLS existence.
Smith says his players must be up to the task to get a positive result in Fort Lauderdale.
“I think you have to expect every single away game you have, you’re going to run into a tough environment,” he said. “I’m sure that everyone down in Miami would like to be in a slightly better position than they are. But when you look around their group, you can’t help but focus in on the fact that they still have some very, very good players.
“I suspect that time will be the necessity for Phil [Neville] to get the job done the way he wants to, and we’ll go down there knowing that we will be in for a very challenging game. The environment won’t help anyone. I’m sure it’ll be very warm when we kick off. The atmosphere looks like it’s been very good down there, so I’m sure they’re getting behind the team. I’m sure their first victory at home last weekend will have infused all the players and given them some confidence for Sunday’s matchup.”