TAMPA, Fla. – Nashville SC continued its preseason training with a scrimmage against Major League Soccer foe Chicago Fire FC at the University of Tampa.
Chicago took the edge in this exercise with a 3-1 final score. Throughout both halves, Nashville pushed the tempo and generated a number of strong scoring chances, eventually leading to the club’s first MLS preseason goal from the foot of Randall Leal at the end of the first half. The preseason friendly also gave Daniel Ríos, David Accam and Miguel Nazarit their first minutes in the second half.
First Half - GK Joe Willis, D Dan Lovitz, D Dave Romney, D Jalil Anibaba, D Eric Miller, M Aníbal Godoy, M Dax McCarty, M Hany Mukhtar, M Randall Leal, M Abu Danladi, F Dominique Badji
Second Half – GK Adrían Zendejas, D Brayan Beckeles, D Jack Maher, D Ken Tribbett, D Taylor Washington, M Matt LaGrassa, M Tah Brian Anunga, M Alan Winn, M Derrick Jones, M Luke Haakenson, F Daniel Ríos
Second-half substitutions: Miguel Nazarit (in for Jack Maher), David Accam (in for Luke Haakenson)
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Settling In – Chicago started the match on the front foot, putting in a rebound and doubling their advantage on an unlucky own goal deflection. However, Nashville SC settled in extremely well in the moments following the early goals, earning a couple of quick corner kicks. As the half wore on, Hany Mukhtar was a focal point in the attack, working a few world-class feeds to Leal and Dominique Badji, but Chicago’s defense and keeper held strong.
Dan Lovitz also logged plenty of time in attack, launching a free kick that was narrowly deflected wide of the post. Badji nearly opened his preseason account near the end of the half, but his tap-in on a feed from Lovitz was ruled offside. It was in injury time that Nashville cashed in on all the pressure with Leal’s goal.
A Leal Connection – Leal was a menace along the left flank of the field through the entire first half. His connection with Mukhtar in the midfield was strong, and it directly led to the club’s first preseason goal. Mukhtar worked forward quickly, catching Leal streaking down the left wing towards goal. The determined midfielder gathered the ball and placed a pinpoint shot off the far post and into the back of the net, concluding an energetic first half for Nashville.
Second-Half Action – After conceding an early penalty to Chicago, Nashville SC applied plenty of pressure in the second half with wholesale changes to the lineup. In the first 15 minutes, Daniel Ríos got himself in dangerous positions in the attack and narrowly missed his chances. Ken Tribbett also moved his way forward, creating various opportunities towards goal and nearly setting up a tap-in for Ríos.
In the latter portion of the half, David Accam entered his first preseason match. He nearly scored a goal after linking up with a marauding Derrick Jones in the box. Jones’ strong run ended in a ball to Accam on his right, who placed his shot narrowly wide of the far post.
Nashville SC’s preseason build-up continues on Sunday afternoon when it takes on USL Championship side Louisville City FC at IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL.