Nashville happy “in the shadows” when they start the MLS Cup bid

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Nashville SC general manager Mike Jacobs has admitted that he is surprised that his team is not getting more attention given the success they have achieved in MLS so far.

In just two seasons in the league, Nashville has reached the MLS Cup playoffs on both occasions.

2021 has been particularly successful so far, with Gary Smith’s team finishing third in the Eastern Conference, losing the lowest number of games in the entire league (4) and maintaining an unbeaten home record.

Still, Nashville is largely overlooked when it comes to the MLS Cup battle and is rarely considered one of the best teams in the league. It’s something that clearly baffles Jacobs, even if it does not necessarily bother him.

“I think it’s great that no more attention is being paid to our players and coaches, because it’s so unique what’s going on,” Jacobs told MLSsoccer.com. “But a big part of me likes to fly at a blind spot. It allows us to do what we do in the shadows.”

If Jacobs is happy to work in the shadows, Smith is probably happy about that. What is better for a coach than for the opposition to underestimate you, while those like MVP challenger Hany Mukhtar (16 goals, 10 assists), CJ Sapong (12 goals, 4 assists) and Randall Leal (8 goals, 7 assists) get jobs?

According to Smith, their upcoming Round 1 clash against Orlando City could very well be decided by individual talent – something that Lions have no shortage of with the likes of Daryl Dike and Nani all around.

“One-time matches are very different from the consistency of the season,” said Smith. “Yes, we have the ingredients (for success in the playoffs), but it depends on the individuals having a good performance.

“In a one-time match, there are things that can go wrong. The referee’s choice, there are mistakes in every match and let’s not forget that Orlando has match winners in the team.”

The winner of Tuesday’s match at the Nissan Stadium will face the Philadelphia Union in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

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