The Boys in Gold are back.
After 13 days off during the international break, Nashville SC (11W-3L-14D) is back in action on the road taking on D.C. United (12W-12L-4D) on Saturday night. Nashville enters this match on a four-match unbeaten run and unbeaten in five of its last six road matches.
Sitting in second place in the Eastern Conference with just six matches remaining in the season, Nashville SC will look to earn even more points towards its Audi MLS Cup Playoffs position.
Here’s everything you need to know about Saturday’s match:
Final Sprint Begins – Saturday's match kicks off the home stretch of the 2021 regular season in earnest. The Boys in Gold will play six matches between now and November 7, four of which are on the road and three of which are currently in a playoff spot.
Head Coach Gary Smith says his team will be locked in and ready for each of the next six matches.
“Nobody’s taking anything for granted here,” he said. “We play some of the top sides in this run-in. We go to D.C., we go to Philly, we play Orlando and New York [Red Bulls] is in fantastic form. These are tough games, and we have four out of the next six away from home. There is no given, especially in this Eastern Conference this year more than any other that I’ve seen.”
Standings Shake-Up - With six matches remaining in the regular season, the Eastern Conference standings are locked tight. Nashville SC sits in second place with 47 points and a two-point cushion on third-place Philadelphia Union. D.C. United sits seven points back of Nashville with 40, but just one point clear of the first team out of the playoffs: Atlanta United.
The result of this match could shape the remaining push towards the playoffs for both sides.
“There will be an awful lot on the line for both teams,” Smith said. “We still have lots to prove. We certainly want to finish in the best position we can, and if we can get a result against this talented group, then we’ve got a much better chance of finding ourselves in a terrific spot. With six tough games to go, every point counts for every team. I don’t think either team will be taking it too lightly.”
Scouting D.C. - Anchored by forward Ola Kamara’s league-leading 17 goals, D.C. United has maintained a spot in the Audi MLS Cup Playoff picture over the last couple of months. D.C. has had a particularly good run at home, earning a 10W-3L-0D record at Audi Field so far this season.
After a three-match losing streak in August, including a 5-2 defeat at Nissan Stadium against Nashville SC on Aug. 15, D.C. has earned a 4W-2L-1D record since Aug. 28, including victories over playoff contenders Philadelphia Union and Minnesota United FC.
Smith says the win in August over D.C. showed what his team is capable of, and says D.C. will be looking for revenge on Saturday.
“It was a very good win at home against them,” Smith said. “I think we saw all of the qualities and the abilities that they have: a team that plays with a heart on their sleeve. They’ll be very much up for this challenge against us, having been beaten at our place. The implications are massive. Their form has seen them go through the gears and put themselves in a very good spot.”