With three straight wins under its belt, Nashville SC (10W-2L-11D, 41 pts) travels back to the Great White North to take on Toronto FC (3W-14L-6D, 15 pts) on Saturday night.
The Boys in Gold are coming off a 1-0 win over CF Montréal last Saturday. Nashville sits in sole possession of second place in the Eastern Conference with 41 points and a nine-point cushion ahead of the playoff line.
This will be the last of three matchups with Toronto FC this season. In the previous two, Nashville SC earned a thrilling 3-2 win at home on June 23 and a 1-1 draw on the road on Aug. 1.
Here’s everything you need to know about Saturday’s match:
Date: Saturday, Sept. 18
Time: 6:30 p.m. CT
Location: BMO Field (Toronto, ON)
Stream: Click Here
English Radio: ESPN 94.9
Spanish Radio: El Jefe 96.7
Maintaining Momentum – Nashville SC has gone unbeaten in its last five matches, two of which were on the road. Those road wins helped put Nashville in second place in the Eastern Conference and seven points above the threshold to host a home playoff match.
Head Coach Gary Smith says the team still understands how difficult it is to succeed on the road in Major League Soccer.
“There’s always questions of what you might be able to achieve away from your home stadium, and it’s been so productive for us,” Smith said. “Expectations suddenly get that much higher. We are all looking around thinking that there are results available to us. I think it’s easy to forget just how difficult it is to go to anyone’s home field in this league in whatever the scenario is, and this game of the weekend will be filled with problems and difficulties, mostly based on the quality of our opponent.”
Walker’s Back – Defender Walker Zimmerman returned to the Nashville SC lineup from international duty with authority last weekend in Montreal, scoring the lone goal off a set piece in a 1-0 win.
Zimmerman says his competitive nature allowed him to return seamlessly despite not featuring for the U.S. Men’s National Team during the international window.
“I’m a competitor,” Zimmerman said. “I want to be out there whenever I can, so it was fun to be able to play again. It had been probably 10 or 12 days since I had played a game, so I was obviously very ready to come out there and perform.”
Scouting Toronto – Toronto FC has had its fair share of ups and downs this season. The team currently sits in last in the Eastern Conference and has lost its last six matches, including this Tuesday night when the Reds conceded a late penalty to a victorious Inter Miami CF.
However, Smith says Toronto has far more to offer than its record shows, and the Boys in Gold will be ready for a tough test on Saturday.
“I would put this Toronto group, technically, in the top four or five of this league,” Smith said. “They’re a very well-drilled group, a very capable group, and they’re a very dangerous group that, if given the opportunity, can make any team look absolutely stupid. I think that’s something that we have to be fully aware of. As far as what I would want out of it, I want what I always want out of it. I want the group to go into the game with the right mentality, I want them to be prepared and organized for the challenge they have in front of them, and I want them to give everything they’ve got.”