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VOL. 46 | NO. 32 | Friday, August 12, 2022

Promised land: NSC has tough road to playoffs

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Remaining games at GEODIS

Nashville Soccer Club’s remaining 2022 home games, all at GEODIS Park. Tickets start at $22 for general admission and are available through Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster.com or at the GEODIS Park box office.

• Sunday, Aug. 14, Minnesota United FC, 8 p.m.
• Sunday, Aug. 21, FC Dallas, 7:30 p.m.
• Wednesday, Aug. 31, Colorado Rapids, 7:30 p.m.
• Saturday, Sept. 3, Austin FC, 7:30 p.m.
• Saturday, Sept. 10, LA Galaxy, 2:30 p.m.
• Wednesday, Sept. 21, Club América (Leagues Cup Showcase), TBA
• Sunday, Oct. 2, Houston Dynamo FC, 7:30 p.m.

Nashville Soccer Club still has a little more than a quarter of the 2022 season to try to find a definitive home-field advantage within GEODIS Park.

The boys in gold spent a whopping 582 days not surrendering a win in Nashville versus MLS competition, last losing at Nissan Stadium Nov. 14, 2020, and spending the entire home slate in 2021 notching wins or draws.

That streak came to an end in the group’s sixth match at GEODIS Park (five MLS, one U.S. Open Cup match against regional rivals Atlanta United) when it dropped a 2-1 result June 19 against Sporting Kansas City.

Overall, the team sits at 3-5-3 at the new digs, a far cry from the home domination it experienced up the road at Nissan during the previous two seasons.

The club will host six of its final nine games at home, helping to offset the eight-game road trip the team endured before its new home opened May 1.

The good thing is, each of those final six home opponents is a Western Conference team, and taking three points at home in those contests would help solidify NSC’s chances at a third consecutive MLS Cup playoff berth.

Less appealing is three of those six opponents have better records than NSC. Also, Nashville will have to close out the regular season on the road Oct. 9 against conference and overall MLS points leader LA FC.

Through Saturday’s results, five teams (Minnesota, Salt Lake, Nashville, Portland and Seattle) are within three points of each other for the fourth through seventh slots in the conference standings.

Nashville has finished its home-and-away series with Salt Lake, Portland and Seattle for the season and will have to rely on other clubs to keep those playoff contenders from adding points.

The club will continue to lean heavily on the offensive output of midfielder Hany Mukhtar, whose 13 goals through Saturday lead the team and make him a contender for MLS regular season most valuable player.

But it’s on the defensive side of the field where NSC needs to find its 2021 shutdown form, and the recent addition of U.S. Men’s National Team member Shaq Moore playing alongside fellow USMNT member Walker Zimmerman should aid in that quest to lock up another playoff berth.

– Lucas Hendrickson

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