Mon, 29 Nov 2021

Nashville looks for first win in a month at lowly Cincinnati

Field Level Media
27 Oct 2021, 03:19 GMT+10

Perhaps a visit to reeling FC Cincinnati will help Nashville SC end the longest winless rut of the franchise's young history, and ultimately clinch a playoff berth.

Looking for its first victory in more than a month, visiting Nashville tries to extend FCC's franchise-worst losing streak to 10 matches on Wednesday night.

Entering this matchday, Nashville (11-4-16, 49 points) sits third in the Eastern Conference, but tied on points with second-place Philadelphia. Nashville missed a chance to possibly clinch a second playoff berth in as many MLS seasons last week with a 1-0 loss to the Union.

That setback dropped Nashville to 0-1-5 since a 5-1 triumph at Inter Miami CF on Sept. 22. Gary Smith's club has managed just three goals and been shut out four times -- all on the road -- since that win.

Nashville played Cincinnati to a 2-2 draw at home in April, then won 3-0 in the July meeting. Now, it faces FCC (4-19-8, 20 points), which has been outscored 26-10 during its nine-game skid, but still poses a challenge in Smith's eyes.

"I don't expect anything other than an exceptionally tough game," Smith said. "I don't see any way that we go in there, tiptoeing our way to three points."

Nashville is slated to have star Hany Mukhtar (14 goals, eight assists in 28 matches) back from a yellow-card suspension, as well as veteran midfielder Dax McCarty returning from injury. Mukhtar recorded a pair of assists vs. Cincinnati this season.

Trying to salvage something positive in the final days of the regular season, Cincy looks to rebound from a 5-1 loss at Miami last weekend.

"It always hurts to lose close games, but you look back at (the Miami game) and say, 'Hey, this one, we couldn't do anything else,'" interim FCC coach Tyrone Marshall said.

Despite Cincinnati's current struggles, defender Brandon Vazquez has been a recent bright spot. He has scored in two straight contests and also has an assist during that span.

--Field Level Media

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