It was a game of several firsts for Nashville SC: first win of the season and the first club goals for CJ Sapong and Alex Muyl.
It was Sapong’s first start with Nashville after coming on as a substitute in the first three matches. Partnered with fellow center forward Dominique Badji, Sapong and a Nashville lineup full of changes handed the New England Revolution a 2-0 loss.
Nashville was without midfielder Hany Mukhtar and Handwalla Bwana. They joined the list of injured players; alongside Abu Danladi and Daniel Rios.
This recent win concluded Nashville’s four-match homestretch. Nashville next travels to Real Salt Lake before returning to Nissan Stadium for a clash with expansion team Austin FC on May 23.
Left back Dan Lovitz sent a lobbing cross into the 18-yard box intended for Walker Zimmerman, C.J. Sapong had to make a choice: claim the Lovitz cross some 15 yards away from goal, or make a beeline to the center and await the expected pass.
Sapong chose the latter and when Zimmerman headed the ball to him, a simple sliding tap-in was enough to glide the ball past Revolution goalkeeper Matt Turner.
“It’s just a good feeling on the field,” Sapong said. “When you see your teammates are in positions to succeed, and you see your teammates in position to make you look better, it’s just an overall great vibe and I was happy to be a part of it.”
Alex Muyl – the winger acquired from the New York Red Bulls, is often branded as a defensive winger, known for his crunching tackles and non-stop work rate. Coach Gary Smith added two titles to the list: invaluable and versatile.
Starting on the left wing instead of the right, Muyl took his chance in attack and was rewarded with a crowd roar when his shot in the 75th minute pierced bottom right netting of Turner’s goal.
“I know he’s been working tirelessly with assistant coach Steve Guppy about shifting and getting shots off … he’s constantly trying to get himself in those attacking positions,” Smith said. “I think that’s an area of his game that he needs to upgrade. And today, and in games that we’ve seen him, he’s slowly but surely doing that.”
Sapong and Muyl’s goals were two of seven shots on goal for Nashville.
A slow start was not the case against the Revolution like it had been in Nashville SC’s other games. Arnór Traustason forced a Joe Willis save in the third minute, but Nashville did not allow shots on goal after that until Adam Buksa’s header in the 63rd minute and Teal Bunbury’s in the 81st.