All it takes is one. Despite playing against the ball for much of the contest (and by design after about 33 minutes), Nashville SC was able to go into Lower.com Field and do what only four teams had done before: beat Columbus on its new home turf. An Alex Muyl goal was enough as the Boys in Gold took the lead, then bunkered for a gritty 1-0 victory.
Nashville SC started strong, then Columbus wrested control of the game after the five-minute mark. There’s probably no team in MLS as comfortable scoring against the run of play as Nashville SC, though.
Buried near the left corner flag, Taylor Washington – the longest-serving member of Nashville SC, and lone remaining player from the inaugural roster – fired a 28th-minute cross to the center of the six-yard box. In a fortunate twist, Alex Muyl’s marker, Pedro Santos, slipped as Muyl adjusted to the ball in the air, and he almost had too much time to think about it, choosing to tuck the ball inside the far post rather than play back across for a teammate.
Nashville would have two golden chances shortly thereafter. A throughball to CJ Sapong found him alone with keeper Eloy Room, but the Curaçaoan managed to shut the door and prevent Sapong from completing the nutmeg goal. Almost immediately, Hany Mukhtar’s lefty strike in transition rattled the post before rolling along – but not over – the goal line to nearly double the lead. Once again, Room’s ability to do just enough kept his team from going two behind.
From that point forward, Nashville shifted from a hybrid 4-2-3-1/3-4-3 with Muyl playing right winger or right wingback, into a pure back five. It was first a 5-4-1, than after halftime, a 5-3-2 as NSC weathered a storm to hold on for the victory. Only four of Columbus’s 19 shots for the game were on-target, and six of them were blocked before even having a chance to trouble Nashville keeper Joe Willis.
With the win, Nashville has improved to 2-2-1 on the year, and seven points are good for seventh place in the Western Conference – all of those earned on the road. Nashville next travels to Kansas City Saturday at 7:30 p.m. CDT. Sporting KC is tied with Nashville on seven points, but has played one additional game, and has lower points per game.
- 28′ NSH GOAL – 19 Alex Muyl (header to far post), assisted by 23 Taylor Washington (cross from left wing)
- 45’+3 Half time
- 55′ CLB Yellow card – 22 Derrick Etienne (persistent infringement)
- 59′ CLB Substitutons –
- On 14 Yaw Yeboah, off 22 Derrick Etienne
- On 27 Miguel Berry, off 11 Gyasi Zardes
- 66′ CLB Yellow card – 14 Luis Díaz (foul on Taylor Washington)
- 71′ NSH Substitutions –
- On 25 Walker Zimmerman, off 15 Eric Miller
- On 20 Aníbal Godoy, off 27 Tah Brian Anunga
- 75′ NSH Yellow card – 17 CJ Sapong (foul on Darlington Nagbe)
- 78′ CLB Substitution – On 20 Alexandru Matán, off 14 Luis Díaz
- 79′ NSH Yellow card – 19 Alex Muyl (time-wasting)
- 81′ NSH Substitution –
- On 9 Aké Loba, off 17 CJ Sapong
- On 26 Luke Haakenson, off 8 Randall Leal
- 90’+3 CLB Yellow card – 8 Artur (professional foul on Aníbal Godoy)
- 90’+5 Full time