By Ron Wynn
NASHVILLE, TN — It’s impossible to make definitive statements about any team after only one game, but one thing can accurately be said about Nashville SC following the opening night 2-2 draw with Cincinnati. Their offense is off to a better start than in their inaugural season. They didn’t score two goals in a game last year until their 10th match. This time they had to do it to salvage a draw after falling behind 2-0 rather quickly. In the process of showing improved offensive efficiency, Nashville SC also set a franchise record with 13 shots on goal, and also had 14 corner kicks. Last year the most they had in any game was 11.
Though attendance was not announced, COVID restrictions have been increased to 40 percent for outdoor games, a big improvement over the previous 15 percent that was the case in 2020. Defensively, after giving up two goals in the opening 13 minutes, Nashville SC didn’t allow FC Cincinnati to score again, as they resembled the team that was at or near the top of MLS in goals allowed last year. Nashville SC’s goal scorers were designated player Jhonder Cadiz and Randall Lear, whose goal at the 63 minute mark gave Nashville the goal it needed to get one point from the match.
“I think we can safely say we got caught cold,” Nashville SC head coach Gary Smith told USA Today Tennessee. “There Can be some reasons for that, but the bottom line is, Cincinnati started faster than us. What I will say is, beyond our opening 10 or 12 minutes, we were not only the better team, we absolutely dominated every facet of the game.”
If Nashville SC truly now has a more polished and consistent offense to go along with what’s still among the league’s best defensive units, then things look good for at least a return to the playoffs. It also helps that they are opening the season with four straight home games, the next one being Saturday against CF Montreal. The May 2 game against expansion team Inter Miami CF will also be on ESPN.