HARRISON, N.J. (Oct. 27, 2020) – Nashville SC (7W-6L-7D, 28 pts.) beat the Montreal Impact (7W-12L-2D, 23 pts.) 1-0 in the Impact’s temporary home of Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. on Tuesday night, taking another major step toward playoff qualification in its inaugural Major League Soccer season.
The Boys in Gold are surging down the stretch, going unbeaten in their last four matches, winning three of them and earning 10 points while outscoring opponents 8-2 in that span. Nashville now sits in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, seven points above the playoff line with three matches left in the regular season.
Leal and Muyl: Randall Leal kept up his fine form, scoring his second goal in his last three matches to go with two assists during that time frame. He and winger Alex Muyl combined for the tally. Muyl sparked the move with a brilliant quickly-taken free kick that sent Leal through on goal to score with no defenders in sight in the 33rd minute. Leal’s goal was his third of the season, tying him for the most on the team with striker Daniel Ríos, attacker Hany Mukhtar, and center-back Walker Zimmerman. Leal also completed four dribbles in the match and combined with Muyl to recover the ball 15 times.
Consistent Defense: Nashville SC kept its ninth clean sheet of its inaugural season in Tuesday’s match, extending goalkeeper Joe Willis’ career high and tying for the league-lead with Toronto FC and Columbus Crew. The defense was tasked with keeping lots of attacking talent quiet, including former FC Barcelona attacker Bojan, former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Victor Wanyama and forward Romell Quioto, who has seven goals and five assists on the season. The group of Willis, ex-Impact left-back Dan Lovitz, Dave Romney, Walker Zimmerman and Alistair Johnston laid the foundation for the victory, and the midfield swarmed Impact attackers when they received the ball in space.
Midfield Solidity: The deep-lying midfield duo of Dax McCarty and Aníbal Godoy held the center of the park well against the conference’s joint-third most prolific offense. They combined for three tackles, three interceptions and nine recoveries while only committing one foul between them both. The two stayed disciplined and picked their spots regarding when to rush into tackles, and it paid dividends on the scoreboard.
Lovitz Faces Former Team: Dan Lovitz spent three seasons with the Montreal Impact before NSC acquired him for allocation money. Nashville used the left-back as one of its main outlets for transitioning from defense to attack, as he completed three dribbles, two key passes, and took free kicks and three of the team’s corners. He also made nine recoveries, four interceptions and two clearances on the defensive end in a match he influenced regularly.
NSH – Randall Leal (Alex Muyl) 33rd minute: Alex Muyl wins a free kick in the center of Montreal’s half, puts the ball down quickly, and passes it through the Impact defense. Randall Leal latches on behind the back four and finishes past Clément Diop.
- With the win tonight, Nashville SC can clinch a spot in the MLS Playoffs with a loss tomorrow night from Inter Miami and a draw or loss from Atlanta United FC
- Nashville SC has scored a goal in the first half in four of their last five matches
- Nashville SC is tied for third in goals allowed in MLS with only 18 allowed in 20 matches. The team is tied for the league lead in total clean sheets with nine
- Nashville SC outshot Montreal Impact 16-6 in their first-ever meeting
- The match took place at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. due to Canadian travel restrictions
- Randall Leal scored his third goal for Nashville SC, tying him for the most on the team with striker Daniel Ríos, attacker Hany Mukhtar, and center-back Walker Zimmerman
- Leal has now scored a goal or assist in four consecutive matches started, a streak dating back to Oct. 11
- Left-back Dan Lovitz spent three seasons playing for the Montreal Impact, starting in 76 of his 84 appearances. He contributed one goal and four assists during his time there
- Alex Muyl got his first assist of the season for Nashville
- Winger Alex Muyl and midfielder Dax McCarty used to call Red Bull Arena home. Muyl spent five seasons with the New York Red Bulls, while McCarty spent six seasons there and played with Montreal manager Thierry Henry.
- Goalkeeper Joe Willis kept his ninth clean sheet of the season, extending his career high and putting him in sole possession of the league lead in clean sheets, ahead of Andre Blake of the Philadelphia Union (8 clean sheets) and Eloy Room of the Columbus Crew (7)
Nashville SC hosts Chicago Fire FC on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020. The match kicks off at 7:30 p.m. CT and will be broadcast live on MyTV30, ESPN 94.9 and El Jefe.
Nashville SC (7W-6L-7D, 28 pts.) vs. Montreal Impact (7W-12L-2D, 23 pts.)
Oct. 27, 2020 — Red Bull Arena, Harrison, N.J.
NSH: Leal (Muyl), 33’
NSH: Zimmerman (caution), 45+3’
MTL: Corrales (caution), 53’; Raitala (caution), 80’; Binks (caution), 90’
NSH: Joe Willis; Dan Lovitz, Dave Romney, Walker Zimmerman, Alistair Johnston; Dax McCarty, Aníbal Godoy (Tah Brian Anunga, 76’), Alex Muyl, Derrick Jones (Abu Danladi, 76’), Randall Leal (Taylor Washington, 86’); Daniel Ríos (Jhonder Cádiz, 61’)
Unused Substitutes: Elliot Panicco, Jalil Anibaba, Matt LaGrassa, Brayan Beckeles, Eric Miller, Jack Maher
TOTAL SHOTS: 16 (Leal, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Leal, 2); FOULS: 13 (Zimmerman, 3); OFFSIDES: 2; CORNER KICKS: 6; SAVES: 2; POSSESSION: 47.9%
MTL: Clément Diop; Luis Binks, Joel Waterman, Jukka Raitala, Jorge Corrales; Emanuel Maciel (Amar Sejdic, 73’), Victor Wanyama, Samuel Piette (Mason Toye, 89’), Bojan; Romell Quioto, Maximilliano Urruti (Orji Okwonkwo, HT)
Unused Substitutes: James Pantemis, Rudy Camacho, Karifa Yao, Shamit Shome, Tomas Giraldo, Anthony Jackson-Hamel
TOTAL SHOTS: 6; SHOTS ON GOAL: 2; FOULS: 15; OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 2; SAVES: 5; POSSESSION: 52.1%
Referee: Ismail Elfath
Assistant Referees: Corey Parker, Kyle Atkins
Fourth Official: Thomas Snyder
VAR: Chris Penso
Statistics are unofficial.