NASHVILLE – It was a good night to dial long-distance for Nashville, and the Boys in Gold won’t be upset that it took deflections from Dallas defenders for each of their first two goals. Jimmy Maurer’s hard to beat, and you’ll take whatever luck you can get en route to a 3-0 victory.
Winger Randall Leal struck in the first half. Following an interrupted Dallas push, Nashville centerback Walker Zimmerman quickly moved the ball forward. Leal used some pace to force the issue up the left side, then dished to Derrick Jones. The US Youth international returned it to the Costa Rican, and Leal fired from outside the box. A slight deflection meant Maurer was headed the wrong way, and Nashville had the lead.
The Boys in Gold were the dominant factor before the break, with the majority of the game played in Dallas’s defensive end of the field, even though FCD had the possession advantage. Nashville had a couple more chances – including one from striker Abu Danladi that he curled just wide – but couldn’t add to the lead.
Of course, Nashville SC recently signed a player for the express purpose of fixing goal-scoring woes. So what did Jhonder Cádiz do?
In his second appearance for the club – after a 24-minute jog in last week’s romp over Houston Dynamo – Cádiz took just 11 minutes to find the back of the net. Once again, Nashville SC benefitted from a deflection, but Cádiz’s shot from 20-plus yards out managed to beat Maurer (wrong-footed by Bressan’s tip, he was headed the wrong way), and the Venezuelan Designated Player already began to deliver on his promise for the club.
Cádiz would have a pretty good chance for his first assist later in the game, but Daniel Ríos was sandwiched between a pair of Dallas defenders – who inexplicably did not realize it’s their job to help Nashville put the ball past Maurer? – and couldn’t get a shot off. Instead, it was Leal who would get on the scoresheet two ways. He fed Daniel Ríos down the right edge of the box in the 88th minute, and after some stepovers put the defender on the ground, he blasted the ball home. No deflection needed this time. No long blast necessary. Just a bit of technical skill and a smooth finish.
If Nashville gets this level of finishing, complementing what has already been a strong defense, the Boys in Gold may just be ready to make some noise in the playoffs. After scoring three goals in a win over Houston last week, there may be some legs to that possibility.
With the win, Nashville sits in the No. 8 position on the Eastern Conference table – with the top 10 clubs qualifying for the postseason. However, NSC has played one fewer game than 10 of the teams in the East, and has the potential to move up even more when caught up in total games played. The next chance to add to the point total comes Friday evening, when New England Revolution is the guest at Nissan Stadium. These teams played to a scoreless draw in Foxboro, Mass. Oct. 3.
- 19′ NSH GOAL – 8 Randall Leal (right-footed, outside the box, deflected), assisted by Derrick Jones on a breakway
- 45’+1 Half time
- 54′ NSH Yellow card – 20 Aníbal Godoy (foul)
- 57′ NSH Substitution – On 27 Tah Brian Anunga, off 20 Aníbal Godoy
- 62′ NSH Substitution – On 99 Jhonder Cádiz, off 7 Abu Danladi
- 64′ DAL Yellow card – 7 Jesus Ferreira (foul)
- 66′ DAL Substitutions:
- On 16 Ricardo Pepi, off 29 Franco Jara
- On 18 Brandon Servania, off 15 Tanner Tessmann
- 69′ DAL Yellow card – 4 Bressan (foul)
- 73′ NSH GOAL – 99 Jhonder Cádiz (right foot, outside the box, deflected)
- 75′ NSH Substitutions:
- On 23 Taylor Washington, off 29 Alex Muyl
- On 14 Daniel Ríos, off 21 Derrick Jones
- On 22 Matt LaGrassa, off 6 Dax McCarty
- 75′ DAL Substitution – On 31 Dante Sealy, off 8 Bryan Acosta
- 83′ DAL Substitution – On 22 Ema Twumasi, off 7 Jesus Ferreira
- 88′ NSH GOAL – 14 Daniel Ríos (right-footed, after dribble), assisted by 8 Randall Leal
- 90’+3 Full time