July 20, 2021 – Major League Soccer (MLS) – Nashville SC News Release
After nearly a month at home, the Boys in Gold are hitting the road.
Nashville SC will travel to the brand-new Lower.com Field to take on the defending MLS Cup Champions Columbus Crew in a midweek matchup Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. CT. Nashville is coming off an impressive 5-1 over the Chicago Fire and is unbeaten in its last five matches. The Crew are currently on a four-match unbeaten streak with its last result being a 2-1 win over New York City FC.
Here is everything you need to know about Wednesday’s match:
Date: Wednesday, July 21
Time: 6:30 p.m. CT
Location: Lower.com Field
English Radio: ESPN 94.9
Spanish Radio: El Jefe 96.7
Playoff Picture – Heading into the match, Nashville and Columbus are side-by-side in the Major League Soccer Eastern Conference standings. The Boys in Gold currently sit in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, tied for third place with Orlando City SC and CF Montréal with 22 points on the season while the Crew are in sixth place with 20 points.
Head coach Gary Smith said that the team has to look forward after Saturday’s win to try to get another crucial three points on the road.
“I think just about everyone playing three times [in one week] gives everybody the opportunity to make up ground or solidify certain positions in the league,” Smith said. “We’re no different. We were after a good result, and maybe a bit of a statement result [Saturday night] with five goals and it gives us a confidence boost, but also reinforces the fact that we’re capable of putting that type of scoreline on the board and also taking advantage of a very good team.”
Attacking Trio – Against the Fire, the attacking trio of CJ Sapong, Hany Mukhtar and Randall Leal helped produce Nashville’s best goal-scoring performance in its MLS history. Mukhtar scored the club’s first MLS hat trick, Sapong finished with a goal and an assist while Leal earned an assist.
Smith said all three players are working together and taking advantage of chances the team has created.
“The trio of CJ, Hany and Randall have shown some really lovely, not just qualities, but connections,” Smith said. “There’s some real nice interactions, and probably the most productive thing about their play is they’re constantly on the move and asking questions of their opposing players.”
Depth Stepping Up – Brian Anunga scored the fifth and final goal of the match against Chicago for his first career MLS goal. Dylan Nealis made his first start for Nashville against the Fire and earned his first career assist on Anunga’s goal.
Anunga said he has been learning from coaches and other players on the team to improve his game.
“I’m always trying to find the will to learn and improve with Dax [McCarty] coaching me and with our guys and Gary [Smith] and [Assistant Coach] Steve Guppy,” Anunga said. “All the coaches and I are trying to improve my game playing forward. I guess something to tie in is also not forgetting the basics of what a player has to do to win the ball and help the team win.”
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