NASHVILLE – Nashville SC won’t be fully satisfied – and won’t be finishing third in the Eastern Conference – but in a draw with Chicago Fire, the Boys in Gold ensured they’ll finish no lower than ninth in the final table, and took another step toward a home playoff game in their inaugural year.
Daniel Ríos opened the scoring, heading home a bounced Randall Leal cross at the conclusion of a long set-piece situation to give the hosts the 1-0 lead. As has happened too frequently in recent games, though, NSC allowed Chicago an equalizer before the first half expired. Fullback Boris Sekulić latched onto a throughball when Nashville’s settled defense left him unmarked on the edge of the box, and hammered home past Joe Willis.
The second half was a tense affair – Chicago substituted Elliot Collier put a header off the post last, which would have robbed Nashville of a result – but ultimately a scoreless one.
With the draw, Nashville moves down a slot in the Eastern Conference, from sixth to seventh, with New York Red Bulls’ games-won tiebreaker providing the edge. NSC has just two more chances to make a statement in the Eastern Conference table, including the next one at home. The Boys in Gold welcome FC Dallas – against whom they have a 2-0-1 record this year – Wednesday evening, before heading on the road to close the regular season against Orlando City SC.
With a playoff berth secured – and now a top-six finish (and resulting first-round bye) no longer completely in the team’s control – NSC is playing to set itself up for postseason success.
- 28′ NSH GOAL – 14 Daniel Ríos (header from cross), assisted by 8 Randall Leal (left-footed cross) and Walker Zimmerman (cross to Leal)
- 41′ CHI GOAL – 2 Boris Sekulić (right foot), assisted by 22 Mauricio Pineda (through-ball)
- 45’+2 Half time
- 59′ NSH Substitutions:
- On 99 Jhonder Cádiz, off 14 Daniel Ríos
- On 7 Abu Danladi, off 21 Derrick Jones
- 70′ NSH Substitution – On 27 Tah Brian Anunga, off 29 Alex Muyl
- 76′ CHI Substitutions:
- On 2 Jonathan Bornstein, off 6 Miguel Angel Navarro
- On 21 Fabian Herbers, off 14 Djordje Mihailovic
- 83′ CHI Substitution – On 28 Elliot Collier, off 11 Przemisław Frankowski
- 89′ NSH Substitution – On 3 Jalil Anibaba, off 8 Randall Leal
- 90’+5 Full time