NASHVILLE – Three minutes into second-half stoppage time, this was a very different game story. Nashville SC has dominated much of its game against CF Montreal, but couldn’t find the final piece: putting the ball into the back of the net. Instead, it was the visitors who managed to sneak a Kiki Struna header past Joe Willis on the end of a corner kick.
Substitute Abu Danladi wasn’t going to let the fans go home disappointed though. His header on the end of a Jack Maher cross sent all 22,523 fans in the house into a frenzy. In the fourth minute of stoppage time, he drew the score level, and despite more chances, the Boys in Gold couldn’t find a winner, and took home a 1-1 draw against their visitors from Quebec.
Nashville’s attack was given plenty of space through midfield throughout the first half. However, decision-making in the final third – whether a Hany Mukhtar layoff gone awry after the press created a turnover, a delayed choice by Alex Muyl after the ball was recycled on a cross, or a slightly inaccurate pass to squander an opportunity – left the team without anything to show for it.
More conventional means also couldn’t find the back of the net. A Hanny Mukhtar free kick found the head of midfielder Dax McCarty, but it sailed wide in the 29th. Just four minutes later, it was McCarty given plenty of space on the dribble, but his pass to Mukhtar saw the ball blocked out for a corner. Aníbal Godoy’s chance early in the second half, with a nice run-up to a loose ball at the top of the Montreal box, was blocked, and still drew a save from keeper James Pantemis for a corner.
It was Montreal finding the difference in the 63rd. A Djordje Mihailovic corner kick looked harmless enough, but centerback Aljaz “Kiki” Struna rose up to head it to the far corner, past Nashville SC keeper Joe Willis.
NSC would continue to pour on the pressure, with multiple opportunities drawing action from Pantemis. With the opponent resorting to time-wasting as stoppage time approached, Nashville substitutions – including the first appearance of the season from srtiker Daniel Ríos – looked strong. But they couldn’t find the back of the net until Danladi’s header.
Second-year defender Jack Maher – shifted from his starting position at CB to right back with the entrance of reigning MLS Defender of the Year Walker Zimmerman – lofted a cross from the corner of the penalty area. There were no defenders at the back post. There was Danladi. The oft-injured striker nodded home just his third goal in Gold to salvage the draw.
With the result, Nashville takes a four-point week after a win against Toronto FC Wednesday. The squad will have time to lick its wounds and prepare for Philadelphia Union’s visit to Nissan Stadium Saturday afternoon. While the vibe in Nashville won’t be ecstatic, it will certainly be much more positive than it appeared until the very end of this one.
- 42′ MTL Yellow card – 13 Mason Toye (foul)
- 45’+1 Half time
- 63′ MTL GOAL – 24 Kiki Struna (headed), assisted by 8 Djordje Mihailovic (right-footed corner kick)
- 68′ MTL Substitution – On 30 Romell Quioto, off 13 Mason Toye
- 68′ NSH Substitutions:
- On 7 Abu Danladi, off 19 Alex Muyl
- On 8 Randall Leal, off 26 Luke Haakenson
- On 27 Tah Brian Anunga, off 6 Dax McCarty
- 76’ MTL Substitutions:
- On 27 Clement Bayiha, off 12 Mustafa Kizza
- On 25 Emmanuel Maciel, off 14 Amar Sejdic
- 77′ NSH Substitutions:
- On 14 Daniel Ríos, off 17 CJ Sapong
- On 25 Walker Zimmerman, off 12 Alistair Johnston
- 80′ MTL Substitution – On 18 Joaquin Torres, off 22 Sunusi Ibrahim (injury)
- 84′ MTL Yellow card – 3 Kamal Miller (dissent)
- 89′ NSH Yellow card – 2 Dan Lovitz (foul)
- 90’+4 NSH GOAL – 7 Abu Danladi (headed), assisted by 5 Jack Maher (right-footed cross)
- 90’+8 Full time