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Goals will be precious when Nashville SC visit Orlando City

May 1, 2022; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville SC forward Ake Loba (9) after missing on a shot during the second half against the Philadelphia Union at Geodis Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Having fallen short in each of their last two outings, Nashville SC aim to clean up their game and get back in the win column when they visit Orlando City SC on Saturday night.

In their last two times out, Nashville SC found themselves on the wrong side of 1-0 at the New England Revolution on March 18 and at home against FC Cincinnati last Saturday.

Despite going two straight games without a goal, Nashville (2-1-2, 7 points) comes off a match against Cincinnati when it possessed the ball 61 percent of the time and put up 17 shots. The problem? Only three of those attempts were on goal, and now it faces an Orlando defense that has given up just four goals in five games.

And Nashville has tallied only four times this season, fewer than every other Eastern Conference team other than CF Montreal.

“We go to an Orlando group that has started in a very decent mode,” head coach Gary Smith told the Nashville FC’s team website. “We know how difficult it can be in Orlando. They’ve made some changes this offseason and added some really bright talents to the group.

“It’ll be no different to any other game we have to play away from home. We have to be at our best, but I do certainly believe there’s enough good in the group that I’m seeing to warrant earning points more often than not this year.”

The offensive challenge may be even tougher for Orlando City (2-2-1, 8 points), as Nashville has allowed teams to score just twice this season. The Lions are coming off a strong 2-1 road win over the defending conference champion Philadelphia Union last weekend. Martin Ojeda and Ivan Angulo stunned the Union with tallies in the opening 10 minutes, marking the first time Orlando City has put up multiple goals in a game in 2023.

“Think that says a lot about the character of this group,” Lions coach Oscar Pareja told the Orlando Sentinel after snapping Philadelphia’s 24-game home unbeaten streak. “… Tonight we came across a very hard opponent, especially at home, a team that hasn’t lost at home after so many games … but we came with character and needed to bounce back and play well.”

Nashville has notched a result in one of its two road tests, gaining a scoreless draw against the New York Red Bulls on March 4.

This will be the eighth time that the two clubs meet in all competitions, but the first instance in the regular season since 2021. Most recently, they faced off in the quarterfinals of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup last year, with the Lions going on to win the tournament.

–Field Level Media

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