After five draws, Nashville SC took another decisive hit to their potential playoffs by defeating Philadelphia Union 1-0.
While both Nashville and Philadelphia have 49 points, Saturday’s results put the union in second place in the Eastern Conference table, leaving Nashville in third place.
“If you’re going to bother their goals, if you’re going to beat those teams, you have to have some players who step up and make a difference,” said Nashville SC head coach Gary Smith. “At the moment, we are far too dependent on CJ Sapong and Hany Mukhtar.”
While Nashville SC was hot in the summer, they have cooled down in the fall, with a 3-2-5 record since a 3-1 home win over New York City FC on September 3rd. The club’s 16 matches so far this season are the second most in a campaign in the league’s history.
With a trip to rivals FC Cincinnati on the horizon this Wednesday, they now need three points more than ever to help secure a playoff spot for the second season in a row.
Should Nashville take a place in the playoffs this week, they will be the fifth team in league history to advance to the playoffs during each of their first two seasons. Winning their first match in over a month would go a long way towards both making it a reality and creating positive momentum as the regular season draws to a close.
While Cincinnati is in last place in the league with only 20 points this season, Smith is still cautious with his offensive attack before the middle of the week.
“What you know about Cincinnati is that they have a wealth of attacking talent, they have put all their eggs in one basket to be creative, to try to score goals and entertain their fans at home,” Smith added.
“It has not always been good enough, they have conceded goals, but I expect nothing more than an exceptionally tough match.”