Tim Sullivan/Club and Country
CHICAGO – There was’t a whole lot of offense in Soldier Field Sunday afternoon. It wasn’t a Bears game, either, but rather a scoreless draw between Nashville SC and the host Chicago Fire FC. The teams combined for just 13 shots, and of the seven combined shots on goal, only one – a 74th-minute scramble in front of the Chicago net that homegrown keeper Gabe Slonino kept out – seemed to carry any particular danger.
In front of 15,915 fans – including about 100 of them wearing Nashville SC gold – the visitors were content to let Chicago possess without building any serious chances, while Nashville then hoped to his on the break.
Nashville began in its typical 3-4-3/3-5-2, but without the typical personnel: striker CJ Sapong was given a rest day back in Nashville, while all-purpose attacker Hany Mukhtar was on the bench. In their stead, Jhonder Cádiz earned the start up top and Alex Muyl stepped into a wing position, with regular starter Randall Leal (albeit a player who worked slowly back into the starting lineup after being away with Costa Rica for World Cup Qualifiers) alongside them.
Cádiz had Nashville’s best opportunity of the first half, but couldn’t get enough snap on a header from the center of the six-yard box to have a chance of beating Fire keeper Gabriel Slonina. For the hosts, two dead-ball opportunities provided the only excitement, but Jhon Espinoza’s header and Alvaro Medrán’s free kick were both easily corralled by NSC keeper Joe Willis.
The 74th-minute sequence that created Nashville’s best opportunity of the game came from the head of substitute striker Daniel Rios – assisted by centerback Dave Romney, as Nashville began to push more numbers forward to find a late winner. It was not to be, though, even with a full suite of Nashville subs (some of which aimed to increase the offensive output). With the draw to close a four-game road swing, Nashville remains second in the Eastern Conference table, 17 points behind Supporters Shield leader New England Revolution, and six ahead of third-place New York City FC.
Nashville will try to earn a stronger result Wednesday against Orlando City SC. The Boys in Gold will return to Nissan Stadium for the first time since Sept. 3. The teams previously met in Nashville Aug. 18, splitting the points in a 1-1 draw.
- 45′ Half time
- 50′ CHI Yellow card – 22 Mauricio Pineda (foul)
- 56′ NSH Yellow card – 27 Tah Brian Anunga (persistent infringement)
- 62′ CHI Substitutions:
- On 21 Fabian HJerbers, off 14 Jhon Espinoza
- On 9 Chinoso Offor, off 10 Alvaro Medrán
- 62′ NSH Substitutions:
- On 14 Daniel Ríos, off 99 Jhonder Cádiz
- On 72 Aké Loba, off 8 Randall Leal
- 73′ NSH Substitutions:
- On 20 Aníbal Godoy, off 6 Dax McCarty
- On 26 Luke Haakenson, off 19 Alex Muyl
- 73′ CHI Substitution – On 20 Wyatt Omsberg, off 4 Johan Kappelhof
- 90’+1 NSH Substitution – On 15 Eric Miller, off 12 Alistair Johnston
- 90’+3 Full time