Nashville SC (11W-3L-13D, 46 points) wraps up a stretch of five matches in 15 days on Sunday when it faces New York City FC (11W-10L-6D, 39 points) at Red Bull Arena.
The Boys in Gold have a grip on second place in the Eastern Conference with a six-point cushion over third-place D.C. United. Sunday’s match could alter the dynamic of the Audi MLS Cup Playoff race as NYCFC sits seven points behind Nashville in fourth place.
Here’s everything you need to know about Sunday’s match.
Date: Sunday, Oct. 3
Time: 11:00 a.m. CT
Location: Red Bull Arena (Harrison, N.J.)
Stream: Click Here
English Radio: ESPN 94.9
Spanish Radio: El Jefe 96.7
*Sunday's match at NYCFC will now air on CW58 in addition to NashvilleSC.com/stream.
Mukthar (MVP?) Magic – Nashville SC midfielder Hany Mukhtar scored his team-leading 13th goal of 2021 on Wednesday night in a 2-2 draw against Orlando City SC. In the 11’ minute, Mukthar saw his penalty saved, but he moved quickly to bury the rebound in the back of the net.
Coupled with his nine assists, Mukhtar is tied with D.C. United’s Ola Kamara with the most combined goals and assists in Major League Soccer (22). In his last 10 appearances, the German Designated Player has at least one goal or assist in all but two matches. He’ll look to continue that good run of form against an NYCFC team that Mukhtar scored twice against on Sept. 3 at Nissan Stadium.
Sparks Fly – The last matchup between these two teams saw plenty of firepower and fireworks. In addition to a brace from Mukhtar in a 3-1 win, Nashville SC’s Dax McCarty and NYCFC’s Maxi Moralez were each sent off with a red card in the 45’ minute. Since that match, NYCFC has had at least one player sent off in three of its last six matches.
In that same stretch, NYCFC has won just once match, drawn two and lost three. Leading scorer Taty Castellanos has two goals and an assist in that span before being suspended for the team’s 2-0 loss to Chicago Fire FC on Wednesday night.
The Many Stakes of Newark – Sunday's match could have playoff implications for both sides. Nashville SC will look to take a stranglehold on second place in the Eastern Conference and put as much as 10 points of space on fourth-place NYCFC.
Meanwhile, NYCFC sits just two points clear of the playoff line with three other teams tied on points behind them. The home side will look to begin to cement its place in the playoffs, and in the top four of the Eastern Conference standings.
Head Coach Gary Smith said his team will have to fight for a result after Orlando City SC rallied for two late goals to take a draw against Nashville on Wednesday night.
“We’re in a very competitive spot right now, and we want to maintain that spot, and we’ll fight tooth and nail to achieve that,” Smith said. “There are going to be some bumps along the way and [Wednesday] was a bump. We’ve had some very good results, we’ve had some very good form and we’ve played some extremely good football here. [Wednesday], for whatever reason wasn’t going to be our night. Maybe it was in the stars, fate, whatever that is, and we’ll prepare ourselves for a New York team that are in much need of a result themselves to catapult themselves into a position that they should really be in.”