Randall Leal scored the equalizing goal just beyond the hour mark and Nashville SC rallied for a 2-2 draw with visiting FC Cincinnati in Saturday night’s season opener.
Off one of Nashville’s 14 corners, Leal found the ball outside the near top corner of the box and lofted it high and, eventually, over the head of Cincinnati goalkeeper Przemyslaw Tyton — who appeared to misplay the approach — and into the top corner of the net to level the match at 2-2 in the 64th minute.
After going down 2-0 via goals from key Cincinnati acquisitions Luciano Acosta and Brenner through the first 12 minutes, Nashville amped up the pressure. The hosts recorded 32 total shots, 13 on target.
However, Nashville was stymied often by Tyton, including twice from point-blank in the 75th minute, and had to settle for the draw.
In a dream start for Cincinnati, Acosta opened his FCC account in grand fashion just eight minutes into the match. Getting behind the Nashville back end, Acosta, the former D.C. United star back in MLS following a disappointing 2020 season in Liga MX, took a perfectly threaded pass from Ronald Matarrita and beat home-side keeper Joe Willis.
Just four minutes later, Cincinnati, which totaled just six goals on the road last season, scored through its other newcomer.
After the Brazilian Brenner was awarded a penalty kick via video review that claimed he was fouled in the box by Willis, the 21-year-old hit the low-side of the net from the spot to further dent Nashville, which conceded just 22 goals during its expansion 2020 regular season that resulted in a playoff appearance.
Nashville, though, showed its reliance by pulling one back on 20 minutes. Off the pursuit, Leal directed a pass through the 6-yard box and past a diving Tyton to an open Jhonder Cadiz for the conversion at 20 minutes.