Nashville SC’s first slate of friendlies in advance of an MLS season is complete. A 1-1 draw against DC United in Clearwater, Fla. brings the final tally to 3-1-2 in six games.
DC’s Erik Sorga got the scoring in just the eighth minute, and while Nashville wasn’t on the back foot routinely in the opening phases, the Boys in Gold were unable to dictate the game themselves. That changed after Sorga’s tally, though, with Nashville consistently putting pressure on the United net.
The breakthrough didn’t take long to come, with attacking midfielder Derrick Jones earning a penalty kick just three minutes after Nashville gave up the lead. Hany Mukhtar, playing as a winger rather than his more natural central attacking position (to get him on the field at the same time as his No. 2, Jones), calmly slotted home.
While each team had more to concentrate upon than just the final result – Nashville, fine-tuning some of its pressing schemes and advancing the ball from the back in possession, DC giving time to some youngsters before its final preseason game sees a strong squad play the majority of the contest – if either team were to find a winner, all accounts were that Nashville would have been the side to do so: Aníbal Godoy and Dominique Badji had first-half chances saved, while Dax McCarty hit one off the crossbar. While DC had chances too, Nashville seemed to be the stronger side (as they should have been against a young DC unit).
That does bring up another theme of preseason for Nashville, wherein head coach Gary Smith has consistently mentioned a need for his side to be clinical in the offensive third. While the NSC defense has seemed to be strong throughout (a rough 15 minutes against Chicago Fire excepted), augmenting that with goals, rather than missed chances, will be necessary to give the team a satisfying season.
Hany Mukhtar photo from file/Courtesy Nashville SC