Nashville SC draws Minnesota as fans return to Nissan Stadium

Nashville Soccer Club (4W-5L-6D, 18 pts.) extended its unbeaten streak at Nissan Stadium to six (3W-0L-3D) as the Boys in Gold held Minnesota United FC (6W-5L-5D, 23 pts.) to a scoreless draw on Tuesday night in front of 3,478 fans, the club’s first home crowd since Feb. 29.

The draw moved Nashville up to eighth place in the Eastern Conference, two spots above the playoff line, with the Boys in Gold earning points in eight of their last nine matches. Goalkeeper Joe Willis and his backline posted Nashville’s second consecutive clean sheet, extending Willis’ career-high to seven in one single season.

Head Coach Gary Smith reworked the formation that was seen in Nashville’s last match against New England. He fielded the same backline while Dax McCarty and Randall Leal ran point in the midfield. Defensive midfielders Matt LaGrassa and Tah Brian Anunga flanked McCarty with Alex Muyl and Derrick Jones putting the pressure up top. The narrower midfield created plenty of space for defenders Dan Lovitz and Alistair Johnston to get in on Nashville’s attacks down the wing. The stalwart defensive midfielders combined for an 86% pass completion rate and effectively shut down one of the league’s strongest attacking duos in Minnesota’s Emanuel Reynoso and Kevin Molino. 

The compact midfield helped Smith’s side hold firm defensively, and Nashville’s passing patterns looked aggressive and encouraging throughout the 90 minutes. However, the team couldn’t find the final touch needed to clinch all three points against the fourth-place team in the Western Conference.