Photo by Mike Meredith/Club and Country
For the first time, Nashville SC walked off the GEODIS Park pitch without scoring a goal on it. The Boys in Gold generated a number of quality chances, but were unable to beat San Jose Earthquakes keeper JT Marcinkowski as the teams battled to a scoreless draw.
On another day, Hany Mukhtar wouldn’t have just been Man of the Match, but may have put up a monster day. His ninth-minute pass to Luke Haakenson saw the winger round Marcinkowski, but a heavy touch gave the defense time to recover and his attempt was blocked. It looked like Mukhtar had an even bigger role in the apparent go-ahead goal in the 28th minute. His run in-behind saw a strike saved before CJ Sapong dunked it home on the far post… but Mukhtar found that time because he has been in an offside position.
Saved Mukhtar shots in the 32nd minute and in first-half stoppage time showed that the German was in the mood to create danger – but also that Marcinkowski had no intention of being beaten on the day.
He had to stand tall on one more crucial occasion in the 76th, with a cross from Alex Muyl finding the head of CJ Sapong alone at the top of the six-yard box. Sapong couldn’t place the ball in the corner, and Marcinkowski was able to smother it with a dive. A Brian Anunga blast in second-half stoppage time momentarily thrilled the 28,672 fans in attendance, but his shot was just wide, and ricocheted behind the net – not in it.
The bright side of the equation from Nashville’s perspective was that keeper Joe Willis was hardly tested – San Jose’s shots on-target totaled 0.35 expected goals – and he handled everything that the Quakes threw at him. Absent starting centerbacks Walker Zimmerman (on international duty) and Dave Romney (unavailable with health and safety protocols), that’s a bright sign. It’s hardly consolation against a San Jose team that, while playing better since the axing of Matias Almeyda, is among the weakest in the West. A pair of draws this season against a side that most opponents pencil in as a win both home and away is nothing short of disappointing.
NSC will have the opportunity to wash the bad taste out of its mouth in just over a week, and once again at GEODIS Park. The Boys in Gold will host Sporting Kansas City Sunday evening, with kickoff in the nationally-televised game scheduled for 5:25 on Fox Sports 1.
- 45’+4 Half time
- 60′ NSH Substitution – On 9 Aké Loba, off 26 Luke Haakenson
- 68′ SJ Yellow card – 5 Eric Remedi (foul)
- 70′ NSH Substitution – On 27 Tah Brian Anunga, off 6 Dax McCarty
- 74′ NSH Yellow card – 27 Tah Brian Anunga (foul)
- 76′ SJ Substitutions –
- On 93 Judson, off 5 Eric Remedi
- On 28 Ben Kikanovic, off 44 Cade Cowell
- 79′ SJ Substitution – On 6 Shea Salinas, off 10 Cristian Espinoza
- 83′ SJ Yellow card – 93 Judson (foul)
- 89′ SJ Yellow card – 3 Paul Marie (time-wasting)
- 90’+4 SJ Substitution – On 16 Jack Skahan, off 3 Paul Marie
- 90’+4 Full time