NASHVILLE – Things didn’t start well at Nissan Stadium. A Nashville SC team that looked sluggish through much of last weekend’s road loss to Inter Miami CF started its contest with DC United in the same lethargic fashion. The visitors dominated possession in the early stages, pinning the Boys in Gold into their own end. It paid off just three minutes into the game, when centerback Frédéric Brillant nodded home a corner kick to give his team an early lead.
Brillant continued his strong play with two saves off the line shortly after his goal, keeping Alistair Johnston and Hany Mukhtar shots out after each had beaten DC’s Jon Kempin. It appears that was just what NSC needed to wake up. CJ Sapong scored headers in the 14th and 31st minutes, and Hany Mukhtar added a banger from outside the box in the 37th to not only get the hosts back into it, but give the impression they wouldn’t be letting DC have a say in the final result.
That strenglehold on the game faded shortly before halftime, when DC’s Golden Boot contender, Norwegian striker Ola Kamara, managed to get enough of a counter-attacking cross to put it past Joe Willis and leave plenty to play for in the second half.
An unlikely contender to end the game with his offense? Winger Alex Muyl. Often a defensive replacement – as he was in this game for Randall Leal – Muyl received a pass at the penalty spot just three minutes after entering, and hit it hard enough that even two hands from Kempin couldn’t keep it out of the net. Muyl would add the capper in the 87th, converting a penalty he’d earned by beating Brillant to a throughball, and being taken down by the Frenchman. With a 5-2 margin, the 20,022 in attendance knew their side had the game won, and the rest of the match was merely academic.
With the victory, Nashville rises to third in the Eastern conference. NSC is level on points with New York City FC, but the Blues have a game in-hand and the tiebreaker advantage. Nashville will try to continue improving its standing Wednesday evening, welcoming Orlando City SC to Nissan Stadium before a weekend off to recover.
- 3′ DC GOAL – 13 Frédéric Brillant (headed), assisted by 31 Julian Gressel (right-footed corner kick)
- 14′ NSH GOAL – 17 CJ Sapong (headed), assisted by 8 Randall Leal (right-footed cross)
- 31′ NSH GOAL – 17 CJ Sapong (headed), assisted by 10 Hany Mukhtar (left-footed chipped cross after throughball from 2 Dan Lovitz)
- 37′ NSH GOAL – 10 Hany Mukhtar (right foot, outside the box), unassisted (but Dave Romney deserves one maybe)
- 41′ DC GOAL – 9 Ola Kamara (left-footed, sliding), assisted by 31 Julian Gressel (right-footed early cross)
- 45’+2 Half time
- HT DC Substitution – On 12 Drew Skundrich, off 27 Moses Nyeman
- 60′ NSH Substitution – On 25 Walker Zimmerman, off 3 Jalil Anibaba
- 73′ DC Substitutions:
- On 28 Joseph Mora, off 15 Steve Birnbaum (injury)
- On 32 Ramon Abila, off 5 Junior Moreno
- On 10 Edison Flores, off 29 Yordy Reyna
- 77′ NSH Substitutions
- On 27 Tah Brian Anunga, off 6 Dax McCarty
- On 19 Alex Muyl, off 8 Randall Leal
- 80′ NSH GOAL – 19 Alex Muyl (right footed rom the penalty spot, after spin move), assisted by 2 Dan Lovitz (left-footed pullback from endline)
- 84′ NSH Substitutions
- On 72 Aké Loba, off 10 Hany Mukhtar
- On 14 Daniel Ríos, off 17 CJ Sapong
- 87′ NSH GOAL – 19 Alex Muyl (right-footed penalty, earned by Muyl and conceded by 13 Frédéric Brillant)
- 90’+4 Full time