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Preview: Nashville SC vs. Toronto – prediction, team news, lineups



Sports Mole previews Thursday’s Major League Soccer clash between Nashville SC and Toronto, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

The first midweek fixture of the 2024 Major League Soccer (MLS) campaign will feature Toronto visiting GEODIS Park on Wednesday to battle Nashville SC.

The Boys in Gold suffered a 1-0 defeat at Charlotte FC last weekend, while TFC snapped a five-match winning run in all competitions, losing 3-2 at home against New York City FC.

Match preview

© Reuters

It has been a miserable season for Nashville away from home in 2024, claiming just one road point in four tries while losing three successive domestic contests as the visitors and currently sitting 13th in the Eastern Conference table.

Their next two matches in this competition, though, are at GEODIS Park, where Gary Smith‘s men have points in six of seven encounters this year, claiming a convincing 4-1 victory over CF Montreal in the Music City at the beginning of May.

Since claiming a 0-0 result in their opening match of the 2024 regular season, Nashville have conceded in every one of their league fixtures.

With 19 goals conceded after just 11 league contests, the Boys in Gold have given up more than half of their total from the entire 2023 regular season when they allowed the joint-fewest goals in MLS (32).

Entering match 12 of their season they have accumulated just 11 points, the fewest-ever for this club at this stage of a domestic campaign.

They are winless in their last five regular-season contests versus Toronto, with their only home triumph against them occurring in June 2021 when their home games took place at Nissan Stadium (3-2).

Toronto FC head coach John Herdman yells on February 24, 2024© Reuters

From one of the most disappointing stories in the league this season, we move to the most pleasant surprising, with Toronto currently fourth in the Eastern Conference.

John Herdman has to be one of the early frontrunners for Coach of the Year in MLS, guiding the Reds to 19 points after 12 league fixtures, just three fewer than they had by the end of 2023.

TFC already have two more victories in 2024 (six) than a year ago, two of which were away from home, equalling their total from the previous two regular-season campaigns combined.

While the mood in Toronto appears to be much more upbeat than in recent times, there are still questions about their defensive structure, as this team have conceded three or more goals on four occasions in this competition.

Throughout much of the domestic campaign to date, the Reds have taken a lot of time to find that decisive breakthrough, scoring only one goal in their last seven MLS games in the opening half.

The Reds have never lost a match played at GEODIS Park, settling for a 0-0 draw in this exact fixture last year and winning 4-3 in their first visit in 2022.

Nashville SC Major League Soccer form:

Toronto Major League Soccer form:

Toronto form (all competitions):

Team News

Nashville SC head coach Gary Smith on February 24, 2024© Reuters

Randall Leal missed the previous Nashville encounter due to a hip issue, Lukas MacNaughton remains sidelined with a sore ankle, while Walker Zimmerman came on as a substitute despite starting their previous encounter versus CF Montreal.

Dru Yearwood is the only player who has started every regular-season encounter for Nashville in 2024, while Shaq Moore returned to the field from a previous injury for his first appearance since March 23.

Tyler Boyd started for the first time since sustaining an injury on that same date, while former Toronto wingback Jacob Shaffelburg came on as a substitute for the first time since their 2-1 triumph over Charlotte FC in March, having started their previous five matches in this competition.

Federico Bernardeschi will be forced to miss this game for Toronto after receiving a pair of cautions versus NYCFC, Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty is still dealing with a sore hamstring and Richie Laryea is recovering from hamstring surgery.

Shane O’Neill missed another match last week due to a quad issue, Brandon Servania is on a long road to recovery after rupturing his ACL, while Lorenzo Insigne was back in the fold, coming on as a substitute for his first appearance since sustaining a hamstring strain in March.

Before being sent off, Bernardeschi scored for the third match running in all competitions, giving him three in league play this year, with the other strike coming courtesy of Raoul Petretta, his first of the season.

Nashville SC possible starting lineup:
Willis; Bauer, Zimmerman, Maher; Moore, Yearwood, Godoy, Davis, Shaffelburg; Mukhtar, Surridge

Toronto possible starting lineup:
Johnson; Rosted, Long, Gomis; Thompson, Longstaff, Coello, Spicer; Osorio, Etienne; Insigne

SM words green background

We say: Nashville SC 3-1 Toronto

It has been an extremely underwhelming campaign for the Boys in Gold thus far, but they seem to execute their tactics a lot better on their home turf, and we expect them to unlock a Toronto defence that still concede plenty of scoring opportunities.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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