COLUMBUS, Ohio (Sept. 19, 2020) - Nashville Soccer Club’s four-match unbeaten run came to an end on Saturday with a 2-0 loss to Columbus Crew SC at MAPFRE Stadium. Columbus (8W-1L-3D), who is first in the standings for the Supporters’ Shield, brought its undefeated run to five games with the victory.
Nashville (3W-5L-3D) had a string of chances early on in the match. The visitors played a cross into Columbus’ box in the 14’ minute. Goalkeeper Eloy Room spilled it, but forward Dominique Badji sent his shot over the bar after his team recovered the ball. Midfielder Anibal Godoy also earned a strong chance on an errant clearance by Room in the 28’ minute, but his shot was blocked at the goal line.
Five minutes before halftime, Columbus winger Luís Díaz crossed towards forward Gyasi Zardes, but the forward could not reach it. Artur latched onto the cross but shot it over the bar. Nashville owned the tempo of the match going into halftime with 53.7% of possession and an 82.7% passing accuracy.
The first breakthrough of the match came in the 50’ minute when United States Men’s National Team forward Gyasi Zardes forced a turnover, dribbled into the box from the left and squared the ball to right-winger Pedro Santos, who then smashed the ball into the top-left corner. In the third minute of second-half stoppage time, Zardes added a goal of his own with a backheeled finish off of a low cross from midfielder Artur to seal the win for Crew SC.
It was a battle in the midfield for most of the match, with Nashville SC winning the possession with 58% of the ball. Both teams worked the ball through the wings; Nashville played 18 crosses on the night, but none found a finisher.
After Zardes’ 50’ minute goal, the teams scrapped some more when Badji won a foul in the 57’ minute. Columbus center back Aboubacar Keita grabbed Muyl’s foot in the ensuing scrum, earning himself a yellow card. Badji and Muyl combined on the attack four minutes later in the 61’ minute with a shot from Muyl straight into the arms of Room.
Midfielder Hany Mukhtar came to life later in the match, as he won a free kick on the edge of Crew SC’s box in the 68’ minute. He sent his free-kick wide to the left of the goal.
The two teams went end-to-end in the final minutes of the match. Zardes sealed the win for the hosts at the end of that sequence with a tricky finish past Joe Willis.
Pedro Santos (CLB)—50’
Gyasi Zardes (CLB)—90+3’
58% possession - Nashville kept possession of the ball for 58% of the game against the best team in the league. Nashville was the more accurate passing team of the night, with 84% accuracy on 524 passes, compared to just 385 passes for Columbus.
- Dan Lovitz is suspended for the next match after receiving a yellow card in the 37’ minute
- Nashville SC winger Alan Winn made his first MLS start
- The loss snaps a four-match unbeaten run for Nashville
Nashville SC will host D.C. United on Wednesday, Sept. 23 at Nissan Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. CT on MyTV30, ESPN 94.9 and El Jefe.
Starting XI: Joe Willis; Dan Lovitz, Dave Romney, Walker Zimmerman, Alistair Johnston; Dax McCarty, Aníbal Godoy (Derrick Jones—78’), Hany Mukhtar, Alex Muyl (Taylor Washington—78’), Alan Winn (Daniel Ríos—63’); Dominique Badji
Unused Substitutes: Elliot Panicco, Jalil Anibaba, Matt LaGrassa, Brayan Beckeles, Eric Miller, Tah Brian Anunga
Fatai Alashe—26’ (unsporting behavior)
Pedro Santos—27’ (unsporting behavior)
Aboubacar Keita—57’ (unsporting behavior)
Dan Lovitz—37’ (unsporting behavior)
Alex Muyl—71’ (unsporting behavior)
Aníbal Godoy—76’ (unsporting behavior)