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Nashville SC swarm Rapids early in 3-1 win

Sportsnaut
May 28, 2022; Commerce City, Colorado, USA; Colorado Rapids forward Diego Rubio (11) controls the ball as Nashville SC defender Dave Romney (4) defends in the first half at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Nashville SC’s three goals in the first 17 minutes of Saturday night’s match stunned the Colorado Rapids, who could never recover in the visitors’ 3-1 win in Commerce City, Colo.

Hany Mukhtar led the way with two goals, one in the 15th minute and one in the 17th, and C.J. Sapong scored in the eighth minute as Nashville took the first-ever meeting between the two clubs with relative ease.

Nashville (6-4-4, 22 points) moved into fifth place in the Western Conference. The Rapids (5-6-3, 18) lost for the first time in seven home matches. Colorado’s unbeaten run at home ended at 23 regular-season games (14 wins, nine draws), which had been tied for the fourth longest streak in MLS history.

Sapong opened the scoring, tapping in a ball touched by four teammates in the Nashville offensive end of the field before it came to him.

Mukhtar scored his fifth and sixth goals on the season in MLS play. The first one saw him take a pass into the box, swivel and turn with the ball and fire in a shot from close range.

Mukhtar’s second goal came on the break, after he stayed out of the way of teammate Luke Haakenson as the two moved toward the goal together. Haakenson lofted a ball into the box, where Mukhtar was waiting for a header.

Diego Rubio curled in a free kick from left of the goal in the 78th minute, but that was all the Rapids could muster on the night.

Nashville played its 10th road game of the season, out of 14 total matches, and has lost just two of its last 10 matches (5-2-3 record). The club also scored two or more goals in an MLS game for the third straight time, which it had never done before.

The victory for Nashville came in the return of former Rapids head coach — now Nashville boss — Gary Smith, who was let go by the Rapids 11 years ago one season after he led Colorado to the MLS Cup title.

–Field Level Media