Daniel Ríos GIF from file.
Ultimately, the Boys in Gold would have had no one to blame but themselves. Nashville SC put the ball in the back of the net thrice, but twice Jhonder Cádiz was (correctly) ruled offside, and Hany Mukhtar was the perpetrator on the third. Doorstep headers from Mukhtar (twice – plus one from greater distance) and Alex Muyl were unable to find the frame, much less the back of the net. None bothered TFC keeper Quentin Westberg.
It’s perhaps fun to dispel the “these guys don’t try to play offense” narrative. Less so when it’s replaced by the “oh, they try, it just ends up like that” line.
Daniel Ríos changed that in extra time. The first player to sign with Nashville SC’s MLS franchise scored perhaps the biggest goal in its history to date. A nifty one-two with Mukhtar in the 108th minute saw Westberg make the save. But in the fast-break situation, Toronto FC’s recovering defense did not follow the shot. Ríos did. He slammed home the loose ball right on the doorstep of the open net.
Nashville leads. Nashville wins.
1-0, and the most consistent team in the Eastern Conference falls at the hands of the successful upstart. Certainly not all narratives died on a Tuesday evening in Hartford, Conn. – finishing is still an issue for Nashville at times! – but that of the plucky underdog may be no more. This is a team that means business.
Nashville almost had a chance to win at the death in regulation. Toronto cleared a defensive-zone corner kick, but NSC midfielder Tah Brian Anunga banged it back into the mixer, and Walker Zimmerman was the only player in the penalty area to respond. However, by the time he brought the ball down, Westberg was able to leave his line to prevent an unchallenged shot.
A controversial moment late in the first half – Muyl fouled Reds midfielder Jonathan Osorio, who made a kick for the private parts in retaliation – drew a video review, but no it was determined there was no clear-and-obvious evidence to issue a red card for violent conduct. Had the outcome been any different, that may have been the talking point after Nashville’s finishing. Instead, it’s a footnut – er, that’s footnote – to a new narrative.
Nashville’s not here to get a participation trophy. This is a team that’s serious about winning the whole thing.
The Boys in Gold will have their next chance to advance in the Eastern Conference semifinal next weekend. They’ll head to Columbus, Ohio – where they fell 2-0 earlier this season – to take on the Crew, who finished in third place in the conference.
At this point, who’d be wise to doubt them?
- 32′ Literally nothing to see here 👀
- 45’+1 Half time
- 62′ TOR Substitution – On 20 Ayo Akinola, off18 Nick DeLeon
- 71′ NSH Substitution – On 14 Daniel Ríos, off 99 Jhonder Cádiz
- 82′ TOR Substitution – On 13 Patrick Mullins, off 17 Jozy Altidore
- 90’+2 Full time
- 101′ TOR Substitutions:
- On 6 Tony Gallacher, off 96 Auro
- On 97 Ralph Priso-Mbongue, off 7 Pablo Piatti
- 105’+1 NSH Substitutions:
- On 21 Derrick Jones, off 27 Tah Brian Anunga
- On 23 Taylor Washington, off 29 Alex Muyl
- 105’+1 Half extra time
- 108′ NSH GOAL – 14 Daniel Ríos (right foot, from rebound – initial shot by 10 Hany Mukhtar)
- 111′ TOR Substitution – On 27 Liam Fraser, off 44 Omar Gonzalez
- 111′ NSH Substitution – On 22 Matt LaGrassa, off 10 Hany Mukhtar
- 112′ TOR Substitution – On 9 Erickson Gallardo, off 22 Richie Laryea
- 118′ NSH Substitution – On 3 Jalil Anibaba, off 8 Randall Leal
- 120’+1 Full extra time*
* What is the correct style for this? We may never know!