Nashville dominates FC Austin

Randall Leal struck for the game’s lone goal in the 35th minute, sending Nashville SC to a 1-0 victory over expansion side Austin FC.

Nashville move to 2-0-4 with 10 points thanks to the victory, while Austin FC fall to 2-4-0 and stay on six points with the defeat.

Nashville were on the front foot for much of the first half, and were rewarded with a breakthrough opener in the 35th minute through Leal. The Costa Rican attacker first-timed a cross from Jhonder Cadiz and saw the shot bounce past Austin goalkeeper Brad Stuver and into the net, sending the home crowd at Nissan Stadium into a frenzy. The hosts then very nearly added a second just six minutes after Leal’s opener when Cadiz got loose on a breakaway down the right side, but his shot from a tough angle was denied by the post.

Austin had a couple of good chances of their own in the opening frame, most notably from a clean look from Designated Player Cecilio Dominguez in the 14th minute from just inside the area that barely went wide of the Nashville goal.

Austin thought they had struck for a shocking equalizer in the 73rd minute via Jared Stroud, who collected the ball in space on the right outside of the box and beat Nashville goalkeeper Joe Willis with a laser near-post finish. The goal was originally awarded, but was waved off on Video Review as Stroud was ruled offside in the build-up, allowing Nashville to keep their 1-0 advantage.

Nashville had another near-miss in the 82nd minute on a breakaway attempt for Dominique Badji, who ran onto a long ball into a one-on-one against Stuver, only to see his shot blocked by the Austin backstop. It turned out to be a moot point, as the hosts managed to bare down, see out the clean sheet, and take all three points.