Nashville SC

Nashville SC game preview 2021: @ FC Cincinnati

I would contend, if you want to prove yourself to be a big-boy team, you should beat FC Cincinnati. Heck, if you want to prove to be like, a USL team, it’s preferred.

The essentials

Opponent: FC Cincinnati (4-19-8)
Time, Location: Wednesday, Oct. 27, 6:30 p.m. CDT (7:30 local) • Newport, Ky. (I think. Will not be confirming)
Weather: 53ºF, 7% chance of rain, 71% humidity, 6mph Easterly wind
Follow: MLS MatchCenter • @ClubCountryUSA • @NashvilleSC
Watch/Stream • Listen: MyTV30/ (local) ESPN+ (national) • 94.9 Game2 (English), 96.7 El Jefe (Español)

Recent form (most recent first – via): L-L-L-L-L (is that good?)
Non-nerd stats: 20 points, 0.65 PPG (14th East) • 1.06 GF/gm, 2.06 GA/gm
Nerd stats: -0.60 xG Power (26th MLS), -0.79 G Power (27th MLS). -0.19 “Luck” (21st MLS) • -0.21 Offense (23rd MLS), +0.39 Defense (25th MLS). +0.28 home disadvantage (6th MLS)
Vegas odds: Nashville SC -115, draw +246, FC Cincinnati +337

Match officials: Referee: Ramy Touchan. Assistant referees: Claudiu Badea, Corey Rockwell. Fourth: Timothy Ford; Video assistants: Hilario Grajeda, Cory Richardson.

Etc.: Rate, review, subscribe to the podcast, with a ton of good intel from Brad Weigel … The playlist … Content from the previous game against Cincy … Playoff implications of this one.

FC Cincinnati

Injury/availability report:
OUT: D Maikel van der Werff (hernia), GK Beckham Sunderland (concussion)
QUEST.: D Gustavo Vallecilla (hamstring)
SUSP’D.: M Allan Cruz (red card)

It is really, really hard to be one of the worst teams in the league and one of the unluckiest teams in the league: there’s nowhere to go but up in comparison to your advanced stats… unless you’re FC Cincinnati. This team is not only the second-worst in Major League Soccer on a net-creation perspective, but it’s also worse than that when it comes to converting on its chances and preventing opponents from doing the same.

That tends to indicate bad goalkeeping, and lo, Kenneth Vermeer is allowing 100% of expected goals (which is actually a pretty significant step forward from his time at LAFC, when nobody seemed to inform EA Sports – which ranked him the best player in the league – that he was the literal worst player in MLS by a wide, wide margin. This is the quintessential FC Cincinnati signing, of course).

The backline isn’t that bad. CB Geoff Cameron and LB Ronald Matarrita are, unsurprisingly, pretty solid. Cameron’s primary CB partner, Jeff Hagglund also inches above average in American Soccer Analysis‘s Goals Added metric. Converted winger Joe Gyau and converted LB Edgar Castillo (who’s moved to the right with Matarrita’s health/availability status) have mostly split the RB duties. They’ve been below-average by G+. But again, it’s important to note that’s… pretty good when you consider how bad the team’s goals-against numbers are.

It’s the defensive midfield that is nightmarish. They’re without one of the most-used players in Allan Cruz, who smacked a dude in the face in stoppage time of the 5-1 loss to Inter Miami CF. That probably leaves Caleb Stanko and Haris Medunjanin in the defensive midfielder. Medunjanin is horrifically undisciplined and slow-footed defensively, but an incredibly talented passer from the spot. Stanko is also unathletic, but the benefit to his game is [file not found].

It’s up front where FCC is legitimately talented and high-quality. Winger Alvaro Barreal, attacking midfielder Lucho Acosta, and striker Brenner are all nice players. Given the lack of scoring for FCC this year, that’s only so much consolation. But if you give them an opening, a guy like Brenner (you may recall from “annual Joe Willis goof” from the season-opener) can make you pay.

However, the big picture is that this is an FC Cincinnati team that isn’t going to do a whole lot if you don’t let them. Alas… this Nashville SC team – unlike last year’s – is no guarantee to avoid giving away easy ones.


If FCC loses tonight and Toronto FC wins or draws against Philadelphia Union (this seems very likely), an unprecedented third-straight wooden spoon beckons.


Nashville SC should certainly be good enough to win against this FC Cincinnati team. As per my previous e-mail, that’s not guaranteed.

The Boys in Gold

Injury/availability report:
OUT: M Dax McCarty (hamstring), F Daniel Ríos (lower body)

There’s not a ton to say here. Nashville is without captain Dax McCarty, but otherwise can slide out a best-choice XI.

The Boys in Gold need a win to keep pace for second place in the East, and with it could seal a berth into the 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs. They’re playing a team that’s likely to set records for futility. That’s a game, imo, you should win.

Playoff stakes.

Projected lineups

Keys to the game

  • Just win. Adrian from Rocky dot gif.


Nashville SC fans are justifiably a little disappointed in recent results. If that continues tonight, it’s a capital-M capital-I Major Issue. I don’t project it does.

Nashville SC wins 4-1.

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