Nashville SC 4, Atlanta United 2 | 2020 MLS Match Recap
On the match's first corner kick, Dominique Badji tapped in a Dax McCarty header to start what would be a long night for Atlanta 'keeper Brad Guzan. The Five Stripes would equalize in the 19th minute, with Jeff Larentowicz getting his head on an Ezequiel Barco free kick, redirecting for the finish.
But then Nashville put up three unanswered goals to open what would prove an insurmountable lead. First, in the 29th minute, Hany Mukhtar would drove a Badji headed assist home for his first goal in yellow. Then, in the 36th, Daniel Lovitz expertly worked the ball into the box and found an open McCarty for the finish. Then, less than 12 minutes after the restart, Abu Danladi opened his Nashville account. McCarty picked Danladi out with a long pass that left him alone with Guzan.
George Bello had a well-struck goal in the 61st minute to try to ignite an Atlanta comeback, and headed a 77th-minute Walker Zimmerman attempt off the line on a corner kick to keep hope alive. But the Five Stripes couldn't muster anything more from its starters or reserves, and the final half-hour went scoreless.
- 1' – NSH – Dominique Badji | WATCH
- 19' – ATL – Jeff Larentowicz | WATCH
- 28' – NSH – Hany Mukhtar | WATCH
- 36' – NSH – Dax McCarty | WATCH
- 57' – NSH – Abu Danladi | WATCH
- 61' – ATL – George Bello | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: Yep, that's the sound of Nashville leapfrogging Atlanta in the Eastern Conference standings. Both would make the playoffs if the season ended today in the expanded ten-team format. But clearly, Atlanta losing its first match to Nashville is one more milestone on a weird 2020 that it didn't want. (Remember, Atlanta beat Nashville in the expansion team's first-ever match, back in February, which now seems so long, long ago.)
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Can you have a moment of the match in essentially its first moment? All four Nashville goals deserved attention, but the first one coming in the first minute was a statement. Its effects rippled throughout the opening half, even with Atlanta leveling.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: We'd be lax if we didn't give it to Dax. The veteran midfielder had a goal and three assists on the night, and put in nearly a full shift.