How Nashville SC beat Vancouver Whitecaps FC 3-0 at BC Place

After posting their worst winless streak in club history, Nashville SC picked up their first consecutive wins since April on Saturday against Vancouver Whitecaps FC at BC Place.

Nashville (10-9-9, 39 points), silenced the home crowd in a 3-0 rout, dropping from eighth place in the Western Conference and out of the playoff table a week ago to fifth with six regular season games remaining.

Winger Randall Leal opened the scoring in the 19th minute and centre-back Jack Maher scored in the 23rd and 49th minutes.

Here are some observations from the game:

Score support around Mukhtar

Before Saturday, striker Hany Mukhtar’s production had accounted for at least 40% of Nashville’s MLS tally. Inside the BC Place dome, Mukhtar received help.

Leal scored his first goal since May and his second of the season. Since joining Nashville in 2020, Leal has earned a reputation for shooting from outside the penalty area. His goal on Saturday was just that. Weak and quick, Leal’s right-footed shot deflected off goalkeeper Thomas Hasal’s hand, bounced off the goal post and went in.

The Costa Rican scored Nashville’s first goal in Geodis Park history. He has since added four assists, but has fallen behind his output of eight goals in 2021.

Maher’s two-goal performance was a career highlight, adding his first scores since June 2021. Without centre-back Walker Zimmerman in the line-up, Maher stepped in as a key ball distributor from the backline and offensive threat from set pieces.

He was such a threat that he used his header to score from Mukhtar’s corner in the 23rd minute and did it again in the 49th minute.

The return of Anibal Godoy

Midfielder Anibal Godoy shone as a tactical conductor in his first start since Juneteenth against Sporting Kansas City. The Panamanian national team captain had come off the bench in the previous two games after missing nine with a second thigh injury.

Godoy anchored the midfielder for 75 minutes and got an assist.

“I thought he was huge in midfield and led the guys. I don’t mean just physically, but verbally,” coach Gary Smith said. “There was a passion in the group that honestly felt like we would get something out of the game.”

Sapong, the other starters are resting

August 27, 2022;  Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN;  Nashville SC midfielder Hany Mukhtar (10) controls the ball against Vancouver Whitecaps FC defender Javain Brown (23) during the first half at BC Place.

Nashville took the win as half of its conventional starting lineup watched from the bench.

Zimmerman, wingers Shaq Moore and Dan Lovitz, center forward CJ Sapong and midfielder Dax McCarty started the game on the bench or didn’t fully travel. Only Lovitz and McCarty saw minutes.

Smith saved their legs, considering the 4,000 mile round trip to Vancouver and Wednesday’s home game against the Colorado Rapids.

Nashville flips the scoring narrative

During Nashville’s six-game winless streak, the club scored eight goals despite recording more scoring chances per game than their collective opponents.

In its last two games, however, Nashville has scored seven goals and posted two shutouts after giving up 11 before last week.

For stories about Nashville SC or soccer in Tennessee, contact Drake Hills at [email protected] Follow Drake on Twitter at @LiveLifeDrake. Connect with Drake on Instagram at @drakehillssoccer and on Facebook.

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