NASHVILLE – When Walker Zimmerman nodded the ball home from a Randall Leal corner kick, surely Nashville SC believed the game to be won. In the 74th minute, a home lead for one of the top defensive teams in MLS? That’s something that any fan would gladly take.
Alas, New England Revolution’s Adam Buksa was not fond of the situation, and took just three minutes to respond. Buksa turned at the top of the box, and Nashville’s defense took too long to react to the Designate Player, and he took advantage of the space they gave him to level the contest. That provided the final 1-1 scoreline after neither team could snag a late winner.
3,727 fans braved a rain delay of over an hour to see the Boys in Gold live from Nissan Stadium. From the beginning, they were treated to a 3-4-3 formation from Nashville that spurred a 3-1 win over Houston Dynamo just over a week earlier. However, the team was not smooth in that look, and headman Gary Smith shifted to a more typical 4-2-3-1 after 35 minutes of play. Neither team was able to create much in the way of chances in the first half, with the lone shot on goal a speculative effort from New England’s Tommy McNamara that was easily corralled in the chest of Nashville keeper Joe Willis.
The second half – Nashville continued in the 4-2-3-1, but swapped some personnel to give a more natural player grouping for the scheme (fullback Eric Miller had been out of position in attacking midfield before the break) – saw both teams unlock the opposing defense with a little more success. Nashville ultimately fired seven second-half shots, four of them on goal, after a first half saw just three attempts and none on the frame.
It wasn’t until Zimmerman’s header, though, that either team was able to find the back of the net. For a Nashville SC team that seemed so close to a major victory in moving up the table, dropping from that winning position will be slightly painful. Drawing against one of the more impressive teams in the Eastern Conference is hardly shameful – but the regret of a missed opportunity is bound to linger.
NSC won’t have to wait long to rinse that bad taste. A Tuesday trip to Harrison, N.J. to take on “host” Montreal Impact will provide the next opportunity to continue a move up the Eastern Conference table. Nashville currently stands seventh, while Montreal is right behind in eighth – though the Impact will have a chance to make the pass, at least temporarily, with a trip across the Hudson River (and Bronx River) to take on NYCFC tomorrow evening.
A little extra opportunity to rest and prepare for a key stretch run will likely do the Boys in Gold some good, and the hunger from this evening’s missed opportunity can only serve as motivation to right that wrong in a few days’ time. The game Tuesday kicks off at 7:30 p.m. local (6:30 in Nashville) from Red Bull Arena.
- 45’+1 Half time
- HT NSH Substitutions –
- On 21 Derrick Jones, off 15 Eric Miller
- On 14 Daniel Ríos, off 7 Abu Danladi
- 59′ NSH Substitution – On 6 Dax McCarty, off 20 Aníbal Godoy
- 62′ NSH Yellow card – 6 Dax McCarty (foul)
- 63′ NE Substitutions –
- On 9 Adam Buksa, of 14 Diego Fagundez
- On 22 Carles Gil, off 28 Tommy McNamara
- 66′ NSH Yellow card – 27 Tah Brian Anunga (foul)
- 69′ NSH Substitution – On 99 Jhonder Cádiz, off 29 Alex Muyl
- 74′ NSH GOAL – 25 Walker Zimmerman (header from set piece), assisted by 8 Randall Leal (right-footed corner kick)
- 76′ NE Substitutions –
- On 31 Kekutah Manneh, off 17 Tajon Buchanan
- On 15 Brandon Bye, off 28 Alex Büttner
- 77′ NE GOAL – 9 Adam Buksa (right foot, outside the box), assisted by 31 Kekutah Manneh
- 83′ NE Substitution – On 8 Matt Polster, off 6 Scott Caldwell
- 83′ NSH Substitution – On 23 Taylor Washington, off 8 Randall Leal
- 89′ NE Yellow card – 31 Kekutah Manneh (foul)
- 90’+3 Full time