Nashville SC 1, Orlando City SC 1 | 2020 MLS Match Recap
Orlando seized the initiative early on, and Homegrown forward Benji Michel rifled home his first goal of the 2020 regular season. Michel bodied Anibal Godoy in midfield, then launched a right-footed laser to the top corner for a 1-0 lead in the 17th minute.
After lacking an attacking spark in the first half, Nashville flew out of the gates following the interval. Randall Leal picked out the far corner in the 47th minute to make it 1-1, equalizing after some nifty combinations with Godoy and Hany Mukhtar. It was the Costa Rican's first goal in MLS.
Nashville can thank goalkeeper Joe Willis for preserving the point, since he robbed Orlando midfielder Junior Urso point-blank in the 84th minute. Willis made himself big, denying the Brazilian on the doorstep after he latched onto Tesho Akindele’s cushioned header.
These sides met a week ago at Exploria Stadium, where Orlando emerged with a 3-1 win. Orlando star winger Nani didn’t make the matchday roster in Nashville, and the expansion side largely went with a full-strength XI on home turf.
- THE BIG PICTURE: Over the last six games, Nashville are a solid 2W-2L-2D. They may not be world-beaters, but Gary Smith’s team has shown an ability to grind out results. A road point is usually solid in MLS, but Orlando were surging after their first-ever rivalry win over Atlanta United, and had three points lined up until allowing a second-half equalizer. Even with squad rotation, the victory was there for the taking for the Lions.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: You could see Junior Urso’s eyes get big, thinking he had a game-winner in the 84th minute. But then goalkeeper Joe Willis stood tall, preserving a result for the expansion side.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Randall Leal clawed back a point for Nashville, finally getting off the mark in MLS. The Designated Player has looked lively since arriving from Saprissa, though he really needed this one.