COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Nashville Soccer Club saw its four-match unbeaten run come to an end against the Columbus juggernaut in a 2-0 loss on Saturday night. It was the club’s first loss since August 26. However, the Boys in Gold aren’t deterred by the defeat. In fact, they’re ready to take some confidence from a close matchup against the league’s best team.
Head Coach Gary Smith says the stats show his team was the better team for long stretches of the match, but was undone by a lack of finishing and Columbus’ go-ahead goal early in the second half.
“I’m sure everyone would think I’m going to come in here and be ultra-frustrated and disappointed,” Smith said. “I honestly felt our game plan and our attitude was good, the way that we possessed the ball. I’ve seen the stats; we’ve come to this place and it ended up being 57 or 58 percent possession. I think we made 200 passes more than [Columbus] throughout the game, and we had 15 efforts at goal. I think the only things I would be critical of the players about are twofold. The first one is that out of the 15 shots we only hit the target twice, and the mistake that was made for the first goal. Up until that point, I thought we were in a terrific spot with controlling a lot of the game.”
In addition to completing more passes than Columbus on the night, Nashville SC was also more accurate with its passes with an 84% accuracy rate. Nashville’s statistical control of key metrics bears out a goal that Nashville SC GM Mike Jacobs spoke on before the 2020 season: when you watch Nashville SC play some of the most established clubs in MLS, you shouldn’t be able to tell which team is the expansion team.
Smith says Saturday’s loss fits that narrative and shouldn’t be chalked up to any expansion-related woes.
“There are always going to be games like these for every team, let alone expansion teams,” Smith said. “I think we’ve come in here and given a tremendous account of ourselves. We weren’t just in this game for long periods; we actually dictated this game. We were the aggressor in this game, we’ve created the moments and got ourselves into good positions and really forced the issue here against a team that is in fantastic form. For a team like us that is developing and constantly trying to move forward, I think tonight embodies an awful lot of that. We’ve shown a wonderful attitude away from home, we’ve been terrific with the ball, there’s been some excellent displays, and as I said we can really feel frustrated that we haven’t made more out of this and come away with something.”
The Boys in Gold don’t have much time to think about this loss as their next match comes quickly this Wednesday night against D.C. United. Midfielder Aníbal Godoy says he welcomes the short turnaround before a pair of matches this week.
“We have some confidence for the next game,” Godoy said. “It’s good because we have three days to try to change, but not too much from this game because we played really well in this game. Sometimes in football you play really well, and you don’t win. Sometimes you play bad, and you win. This is the way we need to stay to try to build, to think about this game because we gave everything.”