Nashville SC

Nashville comes from behind to knock off Charlotte FC

Last season, Nashville’s inaugural visit to Charlotte Panthers Stadium® was a nightmare. Just six minutes into the return trip – the second-ever league matchup against Charlotte FC – it appeared that the Boys in Gold may not have exorcised that particular demon. An uncharacteristic goal – Brandt Bronico slotted home off the post after two Nashville defenders cheated to his outside shoulder at the edge of the six-yard box – and the hosts led in the early stages.

Charlotte managed to get something of a grip on the game, as well, with Nashville having the bulk of the possession but finding a difficult time turning that into meaningful chances. Fortunately, when you have the reigning MVP on your team, there’s a good chance that Hany Mukhtar will drag you up by the bootstraps. A deflected goal late in the first half and a penalty in second-half stoppage time gave Mukhtar a brace, and Nashville SC the 2-1 victory.

It would be unfair to characterize Nashville as sharp on the night, but in the end, the team’s second road victory of the year is on the books.

Mukhtar’s 39th-minute goal was a true oddity. The German attempted to catch the Charlotte defense sleeping in a moment of mini-transition. A lofted pass from Sean Davis saw Mukhtar position his body to strike on the half-volley from well outside the box. As it rose, the ball struck the trunk of a closing Charlotte defender, and Bill Tuiloma’s armpit ultimately deflected the ball enough to send keeper Kristijan Kahlina the wrong way. For the second weekend in a row, a Nashville game featured an armpit goal.

After the break, Charlotte turned “little possession, but the bulk of the meaningful chances” into “the bulk of the possession, as well as the bulk of the meaningful chances.” Those tended to be low-stakes, though, with only one of seven second-half shots generating more than 0.07 expected goals. Meanwhile, Nashville didn’t have a ton of the ball, but had some dangerous-looking counter attacks fizzle into little more than a corner-kick attempt (the Boys in Gold had eight corners on the game, though none generated much in the way of an attacking threat).

It was in second-half stoppage time that Nashville’s waves of transition attempts – and the addition of speed merchant Jacob Shaffelburg – made the difference. Mukhtar managed to turn a transition attempt into a one-v-one with Kahlina, and though the Croatian made a kick-save, the ball rattled to the top of the 18-yard box. Shaffelburg raced Nathan Byrne to the loose ball, and when neither got solid contact on it, Byrne’s slide-tackle attempt was judged to be a foul and a penalty kick for Nashville. After a quick VAR check, the call stood, Mukhtar converted, and Nashville walked away with the come-from-behind win.

With the victory, Nashville climbs to the second position in the Eastern Conference. The Boys in Gold travel to Miami for a US Open Cup match on Tuesday, then host Columbus Crew in a league match Saturday evening.

Nashville SC lineup

Match events

  • 6′ CLT GOAL – 13 Brandt Bronico (right foot after dribble, deflected and in off the left post), assisted by 22 Justin Meram (pass to corner of box)
    • 11′ CLT Yellow card – 14 Nathan Byrne (foul on Shaq Moore)
  • 34′ NSH Yellow card – 12 Teal Bunbury (foul on Kristijan Kahlina)
  • 39′ NSH GOAL – 10 Hany Mukhtar (half-volley from outside the box, deflected), assisted by 54 Sean Davis (lofted pass)
  • 45’+4 Half time
  • 54′ CLT Yellow card – 13 Brandt Bronico (foul on Hany Mukhtar)
  • 62′ CLT Substitution – On 36 Brandon Cambridge, off 9 Enzo Copetti
  • 69′ NSH Yellow card – 6 Dax McCarty (foul on Brandon Cambridge)
  • 71′ NSH Substitution – On 20 Aníbal Godoy, off 7 Fafa Picault
  • 80′ NSH Substitutions –
    • On 23 Taylor Washington, off 19 Alex Muyl
    • On 14 Jacob Shaffelburg, off 12 Teal Bunbury
  • 81′ CLT Substitutions –
    • On 25 Harrison Afful off 8 Ashley Westwood
    • On 18 Kerwin Vargas, off 22 Justin Meram
    • On 24 Jaylin Lindsey, off 29 Adilson Malanda
  • 90’+3 NSH GOAL – 10 Hany Mukhtar (right-footed penalty, earned by 14 Jacob Shaffelburg)
  • 90’+4 NSH Substitution – On 11 Ethan Zubak, off 10 Hany Mukhtar
  • 90’+6 Full time

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