By Ron Wynn
NASHVILLE, TN — If Nashville SC hopes to improve its sixth place standing in the MLS’s Western Conference, they recognize that August is the ideal time to make their move. They have six of the next eight matches at home, and after Wednesday night’s game against Portland, only have to leave home one time over the stretch of seven matches. But they also know they’ve got to get more wins, as they once again let a game get away at home.
The only good news that came out of Saturday night’s contest against Vancouver is that they didn’t lose. But the 1-1 outcome really did feel like a defeat, particularly since Nashville had the lead for 70 minutes. After Nashville center forward Teal Bunburry headed in a cross from Hany Mukhtar at the 17 minute mark for a 1-0 lead, it looked like things were well in hand. Nashville Sc was dominating both possession and time spent in Vancouver’s end. The goal was Bunburry’s second in the last two games, and the return of Mukhtar from injury was also notable in terms of offensive push.
However a late defensive lapse cost Nashville SC. Vancouver’s Javain Brown tapped in a set piece cross. It was a dismal replay of what happened July 3, when Nashville SC conceded two second. half goals to Portland and suffered another highly disappointing home draw. They are now 8-7-8 with 32 points and 11 regular season games remaining.
Head coach Gary Smith once again spotlighted the lack of offensive production as a problem.
“Nobody’s gonna give us points. But we got to make sure that we don’t give any to anyone else,” Smith said to USA Today Tennessee. “And it will be a real challenge in this Western Conference, given what we’ve got to deal with to be above that (playoff) line. In fact, I’ll go as far to say, that if we’re above the line at the end of this season, it will be the biggest achievement of this group since I’ve been here. For sure.”
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