Nashville SC Faces Crucial Week After Earning Four Points against FC Dallas, New England Revolution
NASHVILLE - Nashville Soccer Club has four matches left in the regular season and every point matters in the push for the playoffs.
While Nashville's 1-1 draw with New England Revolution on Friday night might not be the most glamorous result on paper, it's an important point to keep the momentum going into two matches next week with massive playoff implications.
Walker Zimmerman's thundering header opened the scoring for Nashville in the 74th minute, but a well-taken equalizer by New England's Adam Buksa three minutes later spoiled the party. Head Coach Gary Smith gave the Revolution lots of credit for one of the toughest matches of the season, and says he's delighted to pick up another point in the playoff race.
"I think tonight's game was one of the toughest opponents that we have run into here at Nissan Stadium," Smith said. "The New England group started the game very, very well and certainly looked the better side in the first half. Some changes of shape and bodies made a difference to our second half performance. In the end, it's a bit of a disappointment that we haven't taken all three points having scored first. I certainly felt as though we might see that out. All in all, I am very, very pleased with a point. It puts us in a terrific position having played the same game as teams in the Eastern Conference now and puts us six and seven points away from the two teams chasing that playoff line."
With the draw, Nashville has now gone eight straight matches unbeaten at home and three straight undefeated overall following the 3-1 win over Houston Dynamo and 3-0 win over FC Dallas. Zimmerman says he's happy to keep those streaks up despite some sluggish moments throughout the match, just a couple of days of rest and a lengthy rain delay.
"I think everyone would say it probably wasn't our best performance, especially at home," Zimmerman said. "But we felt with how bad we were in the first half coming in at zero to zero we had a lot more to give. We came out in the second half and put together a little bit better run of play. Ultimately, we got the go-ahead goal which was huge. I think based on the first half we would say we'd be happy with a point, but anytime you gain a lead at home, it feels like you might have let something get away. Ultimately, it wasn't our best night, but when you go up and get a lead at home you want to see that through."
Nashville SC (6W-6L-7D, 25 pts.) currently sits in eighth place, four points above the playoff line. Now, the Boys in Gold face two crucial tests against Montreal Impact and Chicago Fire FC, two of the teams right around them in the standings.
Zimmerman says the team understands the importance of the first clash on the road with Montreal at Red Bull Arena on Tuesday, and they'll be ready.
"This is a big game on Tuesday," Zimmerman said. "Montreal is a side that is very close to us on the table. They are a team that is under a new coach in Thierry [Henry] and they now have had about 19 games to figure out how they want to play. It's important for us because three points for us also means zero points for them. It's a chance for big movement in the standings and ultimately for us, to get where we want to go, we need to make sure we're the team that gets three points."
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