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Nashville SC Attack Clicks in Decisive Win over FC Dallas

October 22, 2020 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Nashville SC News Release

NASHVILLE - Sometimes, everything just falls into place.

Less than a week after Nashville SC dismantled Houston Dynamo 3-1 on the road, the Boys in Gold went for three goals once again in a rout of FC Dallas on Tuesday night. This time, the goals were spread out over both halves as opposed to the three-goal burst that earned Nashville the win in Houston.

For the first time this season, Nashville has scored three goals in back-to-back matches. The club's attack could be rounding into form as it pushes for a playoff spot.

"Well it goes without saying I'm absolutely delighted to score three goals, keep a clean sheet and add three points to the board," Head Coach Gary Smith said. "It continues our very decent run of home form and against a very, very capable Dallas side. There were many moments in the game where I felt we looked very bright, purposeful and creative. On tonight's performance, I think we can safely say that we are in a nice vein of form and the longer we can ride this momentum, the better."

Randall Leal put up his best numbers as a Nashville SC player on Tuesday, scoring his own first-half goal and assisting on Daniel Ríos' stunning strike in the final minutes of the match. Leal's first goal in the 19th minute came off of a brilliant give-and-go at midfield with Derrick Jones. The Costa Rican winger got on the end of the last pass, took a few strides and fired a shot that deflected into the back of the net.

Smith says the effort and talent has been there for Leal, and he's excited to see some tangible results come from his contributions.

"As far as Randall goes, we are seeing I believe a brighter, more positive Randall, and we are getting some reward for that as well," Smith said. "For players putting in the effort that Randall is, for the type of attitude that he is showing, it is great to underline and reinforce that with a goal and an assist, something tangible that he can draw whether and say it was all worthwhile."

Tuesday's match also marked the home debut for new Designated Player signing Jhonder Cádiz, who saw the pitch for 28 minutes and made his presence known. He scored his first goal in Major League Soccer on a long-range deflected shot in the 73rd minute.

Cádiz is slowly but surely working his way back to full match fitness after having his 2019-20 Ligue 1 season cut short in March. Smith says even a half-fit Cádiz is a force to be reckoned with.

"We're trying to fast track him for obvious reasons," Smith said. "Jhonder has tremendous attacking qualities that we may not even see the best of until next season. I hope before, but I'm fully prepared to have Jhonder at 50% on the field and achieving what he is for the group tonight."

Ríos played his first minutes since departing the match against the Houston Dynamo on September 26 with an injury. Dating back to his last two appearances prior to the injury, Ríos has now scored in his last three matches.

He says he's glad to pick up right where he left off.

"It's really important for me because I was really looking to recover since the moment I left due to injury after scoring two goals," Ríos said. "To score tonight brings me confidence, and it brings confidence to my teammates. It's great to score a goal and to have the opportunity to play 15-20 minutes is nice."

With the victory, Nashville SC climbed back up to eighth in the Major League Soccer Eastern Conference with a match in hand on the next three teams above it. Its next matchup on Friday is against one of those three teams: the New England Revolution. Leal says he's looking forward to building on this performance and maintaining Nashville's playoff spot.

"This is what we want moving forward, we want to make the playoffs," Leal said. "Today we can celebrate, but tomorrow we need to start thinking about Friday. We need to win and get one step closer to making the playoffs."

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