Nashville SC vs Sporting Kansas City: Struggling for Take-Off

Written by: Varun Shetty
Updated October 14, 2022
7 min read
  • Nashville SC are set to play their sixth match at the home of the season, and they welcome Sporting Kansas City this Sunday
  • Sporting Kansas City has not won a single away game this season
  • Nashville SC is unbeaten at home but have won just twice

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Nashville SC hosts Sporting Kansas City for the first time in history. The two sides have met twice in the past, and both sides have one win each. The first meeting between these two sides took place in 2020, and Sporting Kansas City managed to win it 2-1 at the Children’s Mercy Park. Walker Zimmerman handed Nashville the lead in the first half, with Gerso Fernandes equalizing in the 53rd minute.

Things got worse for the away side as Alistair Johnston was sent off a minute later, and Nashville was down to 10 men. Erik Hurtado managed to make the most of the extra man on the pitch and got the winner for Sporting in the 79th minute. The match ended 2-1, with the home side dominating 60% of the ball and taking 16 shots.

Last Meeting

The next meeting took place earlier this season, and it was Nashville who emerged victorious. Hany Mukhtar missed a penalty for the away side in the 14th minute, and they were made to pay by Sporting’s Rémi Walter. He scored the opening goal of the match 10 minutes later, and the home side took the lead to halftime.

Nashville came out with more hunger in the second half and got the equalizer early. Dave Romney scored in the 51st minute, with Charles Sapong making it 2-1 to the away side in the 68th minute. They managed to hold on to the lead and picked up all three points.

Nashville SC Favorites To Win And Keep Their Unbeaten Run Going

Nashville are the team in form with just one loss in their last 9 matches in all competitions. They are sitting 10th in the league table with six wins, and five draws from their opening 15 games this season.

Unlike other teams, Nashville played just two matches in the pre-season and did not win both. They drew with Philadelphia Union and lost to FC Cincinnati in the friendlies, making fans wonder if the team was ready for the season.

Early Struggles

The doubts proved legitimate after Nashville struggled in their opening nine matches. All games were either decided by a single goal or ended in a draw, as Gary Smith’s men struggled in front of the goal but did well at the back. However, the advantage is that eight of those matches were away from home as the GEODIS Park wasn’t ready to host games.

The season opener saw them travel to Seattle Sounders, and they managed to sneak a 1-0 win. Aníbal Godoy got on the scoresheet in the 80th minute, which turned out to be the lone goal of the match. The next match saw them draw at Minnesota United before being handed back-to-back defeats at FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake.

Coming Back Up

Smith’s players were determined to bounce back, and they did well to beat Columbus Crew and Sporting Kansas City in consecutive matches, but once again could keep the run going for long. They drew at San Jose Earthquakes and lost to LA Galaxy right before their first home game of the season.

They hosted Philadelphia Union in the first home match but could not get the win. Mikael Uhre scored for the away side in the 66th minute after a goalless first half, and Nashville needed a late goal via Randall Leal’s penalty to get a point from the game.

Unbeaten Run

Since then, Nashville have played five matches at home in all competitions – winning three and drawing twice. The wins came against Real Salt Lake and CF Montreal in the league, while the third was a 3-2 win over Atlanta United in the US Open Cup. On the other hand, they drew to Atlanta United in the league at home and were also held by San Jose Earthquakes in the last game week. Houston Dynamo are the only side to beat them in the last 9 matches, and Smith’s men will be confident of another win this weekend.

Injuries and Suspensions

Randall Leal, Teal Bunbury, Robert Castellanos, and Irakoze Donasiyano are ruled out.

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Sporting Kansas City Have A Lot To Do As They Struggle Away From Home

Sporting Kansas City have made one of the worst starts to the season. They are second from the bottom right now with three wins from their 16 matches, averaging less than a goal per game while conceding almost twice as many.

Pre-season did not go to plan as they drew to Colorado Rapids, Portland Timbers, and Toronto FC while losing to Phoenix Rising FC. They also had their match against El Paso Locomotive FC called off, forcing Peter Joseph Vermes to change his plans. After a poor pre-season, nothing big was expected from Sporting once the MLS season started, and that is precisely how things went.

Struggling for Take-Off

They lost the season opener 3-0 at Atlanta United but managed to bounce back with a 1-0 win over Houston Dynamo. Back-to-back defeats to Colorado Rapids and Chicago Fire followed, and the fans expected a lengthy winless streak. However, they were surprised by the players as they earnt a 1-0 win over Real Salt Lake in the next game week. Vermes’s side dominated the game but needed a late goal from Johnny Russell to get all three points. While the win gave them a lot of confidence, it was missing in the next three games.

Defeats to Vancouver Whitecaps, Nashville SC, and Los Angeles FC followed, and the pressure was on the manager again. He steadied the ship a little with draws against Columbus Crew, FC Dallas, and New York City FC. They defeated FC Dallas in the US Open Cup a week later but were thrashed by Portland Timber in the same week. The Timbers thrashed them 7-2 at the Providence Park to knock them back two steps after moving in the right direction with the draws.

A Rare Win

A brace from Dániel Sallói helped Sporting defeat Colorado Rapids in the next match, which saw four players sent off. Auston Trusty, Lucas Esteves, Andreu Fontàs, and Dániel Sallói were given the marching orders after a brawl broke out between the players in the dying minutes.

With two players suspended, Sporting failed to get the win at San Jose Earthquakes as they were held to a 1-1 draw. Losses to Vancouver Whitecaps and New England Revolution followed, and they now sit just 2 points clear of the bottom-placed Chicago Fire.  The good news this below-par season is that they are still alive in the US Open Cup. After beating FC Dallas in the previous round, they managed to get past Houston Dynamo as well.

Injuries and Suspensions

Alan Pulido, Ozzie Cisneros and Gadi Kinda are ruled out.

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How to Watch Nashville SC vs Sporting Kansas City

Nashville SC vs Sporting Kansas City Information
Teams Nashville SC vs Sporting Kansas City
Location GEODIS Park
Time Sunday, June 19 at 6pm EST
How to watch FS1, FOX Deportes

 

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Varun Shetty

Soccer Betting Analyst

Expertise:
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Varun is a web journalist who has been writing on sports for 13 years. He took a shine for the MLS during the 2021 season and has been following it and writing about it since, alongside his work involving the English Premier League, La Liga, and the Serie A. He is deeply interested in soccer analytics and strategy and has aspirations to move into coaching at some point.
Nationality: American
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