Mike Meredith/Club and Country
Three games, zero goals allowed for Nashville SC. And for the second time at GEODIS Park this season, the Boys in Gold scored a pair. Jacob Shaffelburg’s counter-attacking blast in the first half and Taylor Washington’s volley in the late stages of the contest sent NSC past visiting CF Montreal 2-0.
Reigning league MVP Hany Mukhtar was the orchestrator of Shaffelburg’s 37th-minute goal. Mukhtar collected a ball in his own half, and drove at the Montreal defense on a counter-attack. With three-on-two advantage, he slide a pass to his left for Shaffelburg to finish, bar-down to give Nashville SC the lead.
In the second half, Montreal’s possession game managed to find a foothold, but the Impact couldn’t turn plenty of the ball – 65.7% of it for the match – into good looks at goal in front of a disciplined Nashville defense that was willing to let the visitors pass around the back as long as they didn’t generate anything dangerous. Montreal wouldn’t manage a single shot on-target for the entire game.
Nashville striker Teal Bunbury looked to have an ender in the 69th minute. The US/Canada dual national picked up a pass in the center circle, and found himself all alone as he drove at Montreal keeper Jonathan Sirois. His shot managed to beat the netminder, but had a little too much bend, striking the outside of the left post and going harmlessly wide.
NSC would generate a few more half-chances on the break, but it was a settled moment that provided the insurance goal. Interplay along the right flank gave fullback Shaq Moore enough space to launch a cross into a dangerous area. Washington – Nashville SC’s all-time leader in appearances across the USL and MLS era of the club’s professional existence – darted around a centerback and slammed home a volley. It was his first goal in Major League Soccer, and third overall for the club.
With the win, Nashville climbs into a three-way tie at the top of the East with seven points, behind Atlanta United but ahead of FC Cincinnati on tiebreakers (New England Revolution, Inter Miami, and Philadelphia Union are perfect on the year, but have played one fewer game). NSC will hit the road next weekend with a chance to knock New England down a peg, and make a serious statement of intent to the rest of the East. The match kicks off at 6:30 p.m. Central in Foxboro, Mass.
- 34′ MTL Yellow card – 2 Victor Wanyama (foul)
- 37′ NSH GOAL – 14 Jacob Shaffelburg (left-footed, first-time), assisted by 10 Hany Mukhtar (pass on the breakaway)
- 45’+3 – Half time
- HT MTL Substitution – On Nathan Saliba, off Lassi Lappalainen
- 66′ NSH Substitutions –
- On 23 Taylor Washington, off 14 Jacob Shaffelburg
- On 19 Alex Muyl, off 7 Fafa Picault
- 67′ NSH Yellow card – 23 Taylor Washington (foul)
- 72′ MTL Substitutions –
- On Zachary Brault-Guillard, off Kamal Miller
- On Chinonso Offor, off Sunusi Ibrahim
- 76′ NSH Substitutions –
- On 17 CJ Sapong, off 12 Teal Bunbury
- On 27 Brian Anunga, off 6 Dax McCarty
- 81′ MTL Substitution – On Mason Toye, off Sean Rea
- 88′ MTL Substitution – On Ilias Iliadas, off Mathieu Choiniere
- 89′ NSH GOAL – 23 Taylor Washington (left-footed volley), assisted by 18 Shaq Moore (right-footed cross)
- 90’+ 1 NSH Substitution – On 11 Ethan Zubak, off 10 Hany Mukhtar
- 90’+6 Full time