Coming off a thrilling 5-2 win on Sunday night, Nashville SC (7W-2L-10D, 31 pts) is back in action on Wednesday night at Nissan Stadium taking on Orlando City SC (8W-4L-6D, 30 pts).
The Boys in Gold enter this match riding a 13-match overall unbeaten streak at home, and sit just one point ahead of Orlando in the standings. A win would help give Nashville some cushion in the top three of the Eastern Conference standings, and could vault the club to second place in the conference.
Here’s everything you need to know about Wednesday’s match:
Date: Wednesday, August 18
Time: 7:30 p.m. CT
Location: Nissan Stadium
Tickets: Click Here
English Radio: ESPN 94.9
Spanish Radio: El Jefe 96.7
M-L-S (Mukhtar, Leal, Sapong) - Nashville SC’s attacking trio of Hany Mukhtar, Randall Leal and CJ Sapong struck again on Sunday in the 5-2 win over D.C. United. Sapong netted a pair of goals, while Mukhtar added a goal and assist, and Leal notched an assist. Sapong’s two goals earned him a spot on this week’s Major League Soccer Team of the Week.
Overall, Sapong and Mukhtar are tied for the team lead in goals this season with eight apiece. Sapong has scored six of those goals in his last six starts. Head Coach Gary Smith credits the chemistry between the attackers for their recent offensive output.
“I think they’ve connected incredibly well,” Smith said. “They look so bright, so confident. And I think that understanding leads to quick attacks, early crosses, areas that they start to understand and appreciate that their teammate may well be working into. And of course, there’s got to be good quality between them. But I think they’re a great catalyst for each other. There’s such a nice energy about it, they feed off one another, they’ve been assisting each other, they’ve been scoring off those, and it’s looked really, really bright for the group.”
Home Confidence – Not even an early goal by D.C. United could temper Nashville SC’s confidence on Sunday night.
After conceding a goal in the opening three minutes of the match, Nashville SC went right to the front foot, scoring the next three goals before the first half was over, bringing the crowd of 20,000+ right back into the match.
Nashville SC has yet to lose at Nissan Stadium this season and has scored a total of 13 goals in its last three home matches, all of which were victories. Smith says the players have a knack for excelling at Nissan Stadium.
“I’ve got to say, the character of the group and the spirit of the group shines through again, as well as the qualities of the front three in creating opportunities, which they did on numerous occasions without the goal scored,” Smith said. “Another terrific statistical tally at home. The guys are enjoying playing here, that’s all I can say.”
Scouting OCSC – This will be Nashville’s first matchup with Orlando City SC this season. The last time these two sides faced off, Nashville SC forward Jhonder Cádiz scored a stoppage-time header to seal a dramatic 3-2 comeback victory in Orlando last November on 2020 Decision Day pres. by AT&T.
Wednesday’s match could have big implications in the Eastern Conference standings. A win would provide Nashville SC a four-point cushion on Orlando City, who have a match in hand on Nashville. It could also propel Nashville into second place in the conference, depending on other results around the league on Wednesday night.
Orlando has won just one of its last five road matches dating back to June, going 1W-2L-2D in that stretch, while Nashville SC is riding an overall 13-match unbeaten run at home. The Boys in Gold will have had just two days to rest ahead of Wednesday’s match, while Orlando had a long weekend off after falling in the Leagues Cup quarterfinals on Thursday against Santos Laguna.
Click here for tickets to Wednesday night’s match.