Dave Romney photo courtesy Nashville SC
The goal in Gold was to let Charlotte possess the ball, but accomplish little with it. Then, Nashville would strike on the counter. For 26 minutes, that was a solid design for Gary Smith’s NSC, but a penalty conceded changed the gameplan, and Nashville couldn’t truly recover en route to a 3-1 loss to expansion side Charlotte FC.
Charlotte built a massive possession advantage in the first half, but through nearly a third of the game, mustered a single, harmless shot. Brian Anunga – who had been carded just a few minutes earlier – fouled Sergio Ruíz on the edge of the six-yard box, and when Christian Fuchs rolled it home, Charlotte had the lead.
Nashville continued to generate chances before the break, but the best opportunities saw Hany Mukhtar strike the crossbar on a volley after a long throw, Alex Muyl’s shot fail to threaten after a lovely spin move, and another attempt squandered when Mukhtar’s dribble caught a slick spot on the artificial turf and slide harmlessly out of bounds when he was in alone on Charlotte keeper Kristijan Khalina.
Nashville wrested some possession back after the break, but it played to Charlotte’s advantage. A seemingly harmless cross from Yordy Reyna saw Designated Player Karol Swiderski rise above Dave Romney and nod the ball past Joe Willis in the veteran keeper’s first start in two weeks, after backup Elliot Panicco had taken the helm in the past two outings.
Nashville was not to go away quietly, though. Mukhtar earned and converted a penalty in the 67th minute.
It was the hope that ended up being the problem for Nashville. Not only did it mean the inevitable comedown hurt worse, but NSC’s pushing for the equalizer led to Charlotte’s insurance goal. Nashville poured on the pressure, but in the 87th minute opened up too much. A counter down the right wing saw likely Rookie of the Year Ben Bender slide a cross to Ruíz, and the Spaniard hit it back across his body on the volley to go under Willis. In stoppage time, Andre Shinyashiki (himself a former Rookie of he Year) uncorked a rocket from outside the box, and handed Nashville the worst loss in club history.
It was a game that didn’t feel like a pasting, but in the end, four goals is the most conceded in Nashville SC’s MLS history, and the 4-1 margin was the biggest deficit by which NSC had ever lost a game.
The road doesn’t get any easier, either: revenge-minded Seattle Sounders will want to atone for NSC’s season-opening win in the Emerald City by returning the favor in Nashville, while Supporters Shield leaders LAFC come to GEODIS Park Sunday. A Nashville team that has slumped to just one win and one draw within the past five games – and within a single point of being outside the playoff field – will have to muster some magic to overcome a poor run of form.
- 21′ NSH Yellow card – 27 Brian Anunga (foul)
- 26′ CLT GOAL – 22 Christian Fuchs (left-footed penalty rolled to left corner), penalty earned by 6 Sergio Ruíz (fouled by 27 Brian Anunga)
- 45’+3 Half time
- HT NSH Substitutions –
- On 12 Teal Bunbury, off 27 Brian Anunga
- On 15 Eric Miller, off 5 Jack Maher
- HT CLT Substitution – On 15 Christian Makoun, off 4 Guzmán Corujo
- 61′ CLT GOAL – 11 Karol Swiderski (headed), assisted by 14 Yordy Reyna (right-footed cross)
- 67′ NSH GOAL – 10 Hany Mukhtar (right-footed penalty rolled to right corner), penalty earned by Mukhtar (fouled by 25 Harrison Afful)
- 71′ NSH Yellow card – 8 Randall Leal (hand ball)
- 73′ CLT Substitutions –
- On 16 Andre Shinyashiki, off 7 Kamil Józwiak
- On 28 Joseph Mora, off 14 Yordy Reyna
- 77′ NSH Substitutions –
- On 9 Ake Loba, off 17 CJ Sapong
- On 26 Luke Haakenson, off 8 Randall Leal
- 80′ CLT Substitutions –
- On 15 Ben Bender, off 35 Quinn McNeill
- On 24 Jaylin Lindsey, off 25 Harrison Afful
- 87′ NSH Substitution – On 23 Taylor Washington, off 19 Alex Muyl
- 89′ CLT GOAL – 6 Sergio Ruíz (right-footed, volley), assisted by 15 Ben Bender (right-footed ground cross)
- 90’+1 CLT GOAL – 16 Andre Shinyashiki (right foot, outside he box)
- 90’+6 Full time