Nashville Soccer Club (4W-5L-3D, 15 pts.) got the job done on Wednesday night, beating D.C. United 1-0 in a dynamic offensive performance for the Boys in Gold at Nissan Stadium. Forward Daniel Ríos scored the lone goal of the match and his first in Major League Soccer in the 70’ minute on a header in the box that extended Nashville’s home unbeaten streak to four matches. Goalkeeper Joe Willis also earned his fifth clean sheet, tying his career high.
Tori Penso, the first female lead official in MLS since 2000, was busy throughout the match, showing a red card to D.C. United (2W-6L-5D, 11 pts.) midfielder Russell Canouse in the first-half stoppage time.
Nashville played in Head Coach Gary Smith’s usual 4-2-3-1 formation, but lineup changes led to tactical adjustments. To start the game, forward Dominique Badji played on the right wing, moving Alex Muyl to the left. Ríos started as the sole striker, while midfielder Derrick Jones played behind him as the No. 10.
Beginning the match without regulars such as Hany Mukhtar and Daniel Lovitz, Smith had to switch things up again in the 21’ minute when Badji went down with an injury. Winger Alan Winn replaced him, and it made for more flexibility in attacking areas as the 6-foot-4-inch Jones.
Nashville SC finally found the breakthrough in the 70’ minute thanks to a Ríos’ header. Nashville dominated the tempo and possession with 61.2% through the final whistle. The result sees NSC move back up over the playoff line into ninth place with a match in hand.