The Boys in Gold are finally home.
After four straight matches on the road, Nashville SC (11W-3L-12D, 45 pts) returns to Nissan Stadium on Wednesday night to take on Orlando City SC (10W-8L-8D, 38 pts).
Nashville took seven of a potential 12 points on the road trip, earning two wins, one loss and two draws en route to maintaining second place in the Eastern Conference. Nashville’s three losses are the fewest in all of MLS and is tied for the best goal-differential in MLS alongside New England Revolution at +20.
Nashville SC enters a crucial week with major playoff implications, as Orlando City sits seven points behind Nashville in the standings. A win could help give the Boys in Gold some cushion in the race for home field advantage in MLS Cup Playoffs.
Date: Wednesday, Sept. 29
Time: 7:30 p.m. CT
Location: Nissan Stadium
Stream: Click Here
English Radio: ESPN 94.9
Spanish Radio: El Jefe 96.7
Playoff Points – Nashville SC faces Orlando City and New York City FC this week, two teams within at least seven points of Nashville in the Eastern Conference standings. The team’s results in these two matches could determine the course of the remainder of the regular season as the Boys in Gold look to lock up a playoff spot and at a top-four finish that guarantees at least one home playoff match.
Head Coach Gary Smith said he’s focused on maximizing results out of these two matches.
“Whatever position we’re in, once we achieve that at the end of the season, hopefully one that’s seen some development in the group and we finish slightly higher than we did last year,” Smith said. “At the moment, we’re in a decent spot. If you want me to chunk it down, we have two of the best teams, certainly two of the most capable teams, in the league in our next two games at the back end of a very tough run. We have a two-day turnaround, Orlando at home. It’ll be wonderful to get back to Nissan Stadium where we’ve shown some excellent form, and then of course up to New York for a really, really tough encounter against New York City.”
Home Again – Wednesday will mark Nashville’s first home match since Sept. 3 against NYCFC, a 3-1 win at Nissan Stadium. It is just the third remaining home match for Nashville in the regular season in a stadium where the team is undefeated in 14 matches in 2021 (8W-0L-6D).
Goalkeeper Joe Willis said he knows how important the team’s remaining home matches are.
“We’re looking forward to being at home,” Willis said. “We don’t have a lot of home games left, so we need to pick up points there, and make these games count. Especially against a team that’s in a playoff spot, and in playoff contention.”
Scouting the Lions – This will be the second matchup of the season against Orlando City SC. In the first meeting on Aug. 18, the sides played to a 1-1 draw on a rainy night at Nissan Stadium. CJ Sapong scored for Nashville in the 23’ minute before Orlando responded and eventually equalized in the 58’ minute with a set piece goal by Antonio Carlos.
Orlando sits seven points behind Nashville SC in the Eastern Conference standings. When they faced off six weeks ago, Nashville had just a one-point lead over the Lions. Orlando has lost its last four straight matches, including last Saturday at first-place New England Revolution, and has not won on the road since June 25.
Smith says Orlando has top-tier potential and will present a tough challenge on Wednesday.
“What we know is that we’re competing against a side that are very much capable of being in top two or three,” Smith said. “No two ways about it. They were beaten very narrowly in a tough encounter in New England, which I’m sure they’ve taken great confidence from even though they’ve lost the fixture. Played well, missed a penalty. The team that we’re going to play have got a lot of fight. And they certainly won’t want us stretching away from them, and they’ll come to our place knowing that there was very little to choose between the groups in our last run-in together. So, the next two games will be really tough. Probably as tough as they get.”