What to Watch for as Nashville SC Concludes Inaugural MLS Regular Season at Orlando City SC
NASHVILLE - Nashville SC (7W-7L-8D, 1.32 ppg) plays its final regular season match of its inaugural Major League Soccer season on MLS Decision Day pres. by AT&T against Orlando City SC (11W-3L-8D, 1.86 ppg).
While the Boys in Gold have already clinched a spot in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, Sunday's matches will determine what seed Nashville will earn. A win, plus some help, would see Nashville move up to sixth place in the Eastern Conference, avoiding the play-in round.
Here's everything you need to know about Sunday's Decision Day clash:
Date: Sunday, November 8
Time: 2:30 p.m. CT
Location: Exploria Stadium
In-Market Stream: YouTubeTV, AT&T TV, NashvilleSC.com/stream
Out-of-Market Stream: ESPN+
English Radio: ESPN 94.9
Spanish Radio: El Jefe 96.7
Finish and Flourish - Even though Nashville already knows this won't be its last match of 2020, there is still plenty to play for. In addition to trying to gain some confidence going into the postseason after some tough matches down the stretch, the Boys in Gold are also looking to improve their place in the standings. Currently in eighth place, Nashville needs a win, plus dropped points by seventh-place New York Red Bulls and a loss by sixth-place New England Revolution. In addition, Nashville needs to make up a two-goal difference in goal differential in order to leapfrog New England and avoid the play-in round.
"I think everyone always is judged on where they finish at the end of the season," Head Coach Gary Smith said. "And we sit in a very respectable position for a first-year group and I know everyone's proud of the work that's gone on. And to finish off on a good note would mean a couple of things: firstly, of course your confidence will be high. Secondly, we have the opportunity to clinch that sixth spot."
Mo or No Mo - In addition to building confidence, Nashville SC could have the chance to build some momentum going into the playoffs with a solid result.
However, Smith says he's skeptical of momentum's role at this moment given the two-week break between the end of the regular season and the start of the postseason.
"Given the schedule that we've asked to undertake where we've been playing two games a week in any normal week, we'd have normally played four games in that time," Smith said of the two-week break. "That's crazy. I'm sure every single team will be absolutely delighted for the rest in the first two or three days. But it's going to be interesting to see how all of the teams function in those first-round playoffs or the play-in games and there on out."
Handwalla Helpin' Out - Wednesday's match saw the Nashville debut for attacker Handwalla Bwana, who was acquired from Seattle Sounders FC in October. He played the final minutes of the match as a substitute.
With depth becoming even more crucial going into the playoffs, Bwana says he's happy to get settled in at his new club just in time for a playoff run.
"I'm happy to be where I am today," Bwana said. "Because now it's time for me to grow and show people that I can reach my full potential and hopefully go even farther with the club. And the city's been world class. The weather is amazing, and it's really a beautiful city to be around. I've never left Seattle in my life but now this change is huge for me and my family."
Stay tuned to NashvilleSC.com and our social media pages for complete coverage of Decision Day pres. by AT&T and the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs.
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Major League Soccer Stories from November 8, 2020
- Late Goal Lifts Colorado Past the Dynamo 2-1 - Houston Dynamo
- Notes & Quotes: Chicago Fire FC 3 - 4 New York City FC - New York City FC
- MNUFC Dominates Dallas, Earns Home Playoff Game - Minnesota United FC
- Earthquakes Close Season with a Loss - San Jose Earthquakes
- Timbers Secure No. 3 Seed in Audi MLS Cup Playoffs with 1-1 Draw on the Road against Los Angeles FC - Portland Timbers
- Real Salt Lake Ends 2020 with 2-0 Defeat to Sporting Kansas City - Real Salt Lake
- FC Dallas Falls on the Road against Minnesota United FC on Decision Day - FC Dallas
- Real Salt Lake Announces 2020 Club Award Winners - Real Salt Lake
- 'Caps finish season with dominant all-around performance - Vancouver Whitecaps FC
- LAFC Draws Portland Timbers 1-1 on Decision Day Presented by AT&T - Los Angeles FC
- Sporting Wins West with 2-0 Win over RSL - Sporting Kansas City
- Diego Rossi Wins MLS Golden Boot Presented by Audi - Los Angeles FC
- Diego Rossi Becomes Youngest Player in History to Win MLS Golden Boot Presented by Audi - MLS
- Rubio's Stoppage Time Winner Lifts Rapids to Third Straight Win - Colorado Rapids
- Nashville SC Stuns Orlando City SC 3-2 in Stoppage Time - Nashville SC
- New York Red Bulls (2) - Toronto FC (1) Post Match Summary - Toronto FC
- Montreal Impact Clinch Playoff Berth - Club de Foot Montreal
- Inter Miami CF Clinches MLS Playoffs in Inaugural Season - Inter Miami CF
- Chicago Fire FC Falls 4-3 to New York City FC - Chicago Fire
- Lions Fall to Nashville SC on Decision Day - Orlando City SC
- D.C. United Lose 3-2 to the Montreal Impact in the Final Game of 2020 - D.C. United
- Red Bulls Defeat Toronto, 2-1; Clinch 6th Seed in East - New York Red Bulls
- Atlanta United Drops Regular Season Finale to Columbus Crew SC - Atlanta United FC
- Revolution Conclude Regular Season with 2-0 Loss to Philadelphia Union - New England Revolution
- Gyau scores first FCC goal as Orange and Blue conclude 2020 MLS season - FC Cincinnati
- Philadelphia Union Win 2020 Supporters' Shield - Philadelphia Union
- Timbers Travel to Face Los Angeles FC at Banc of California Stadium on Decision Day - Portland Timbers
- Earthquakes Face Seattle Sounders FC Today - San Jose Earthquakes
- Storylines: City vs. Nashville SC - Orlando City SC
- Columbus Crew SC Hosts Atlanta United Today - Columbus Crew SC
- What to Watch for as Nashville SC Concludes Inaugural MLS Regular Season at Orlando City SC - Nashville SC
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