NASHVILLE - The Boys in Gold are back at it.
Nashville SC travels to Columbus, Ohio to take on Columbus Crew SC this Saturday at 6:30 p.m. CT. Columbus is currently atop the Eastern Conference, bolstered by a deep attack and a stalwart defense that has conceded just four goals all season.
Meanwhile, Nashville enters this match riding a four-match unbeaten run and coming off of a 4-2 thrashing of Atlanta United FC last weekend.
Here’s everything you need to know about this Saturday’s match.
Date: Saturday, Sept. 19
Time: 6:30 p.m. CT
Location: MAPFRE Stadium
In-Market Stream: YouTube TV, AT&T TV, NashvilleSC.com/stream
Out-of-Market Stream: ESPN+
English Radio: ESPN 94.9
Spanish Radio: El Jefe 96.7
First Place Foes - Saturday’s match could be Nashville SC’s toughest test yet. Columbus currently sits in first place in the Eastern Conference, while also boasting the league’s best goal differential at +14. Crew SC has also conceded just four goals in its 11 league matches so far this season.
Head Coach Gary Smith says this will be a tough test against a club that does almost everything well, but he’s also confident his club will be ready for yet another big clash on the road.
“Their goal scoring record is good, which tells us they got good dimensions,” Smith said. “They defend well, which means that they’re probably a very genuine group and of course gathered this confidence over a period of time. But if you look at the way we've performed away from home, if you look at the most recent run of four games where we've gone away, we've come back on, we've kept ourselves in decent shape. We've continued our improvement as I'll keep reinforcing. And we will ourselves believe, of course, that there’s something to be gotten out of this game, there's no doubt about it. We've been to some difficult places under difficult circumstances, and this will be yet another test for us in difficult surroundings.”
Forwards Moving Forward - Ahead of Nashville SC’s match against Atlanta United FC last weekend, Smith said he was looking to his forwards and attacking players to get the ball rolling in terms of goal production.
Smith’s wishes came true as attackers Dominique Badji, Hany Mukhtar and Abu Danladi all opened their Nashville SC accounts on the night. He says he hopes to see that progress continue even against the league’s best defense.
“We saw Dominique, Hany, and Abu all in our front line for the first time in any game scoring multiple goals, which is always great to see,” Smith said. “We're seeing Hany getting into more aggressive areas, building that relationship with Dominique and Daniel [Ríos] and the stellar forwards in the group. He himself, just looking at him, is in a more confident place.”
Familiar Friends on Defense - Both of Nashville SC’s center backs have a high level of familiarity with Columbus’ top forward Gyasi Zardes.
Walker Zimmerman has played with Zardes during multiple U.S. Men’s National Team camps and against him in MLS clashes over the last few years. Dave Romney was Zardes’ teammate at LA Galaxy from 2015 to 2017.
Romney says he’s ready to face his old friend from California.
“I got to play against him for three years, so I’d like to think I know where he's going to go some of these times and where he likes to run,” Romney said. “But he's also a good finisher. He's going to get two or three chances a game and you know he's going to put at least one or two of those away. He's got eight goals this year already. He's got confidence right now and he's going to be a tough task, but I think me and Walker are definitely ready to play against him this weekend.”