MX23RW : Thursday, June 17 01:22:32| >> :120:20447:20447:
May 16, 2021 at 2.30am UK at Rio Tinto Stadium
Salt LakeReal Salt Lake
0-0
NashvilleNashville SC

Glad (27')
FT

Muyl (50')

Preview: Real Salt Lake vs. Nashville SC - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Major League Soccer clash between Real Salt Lake and Nashville SC, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Nashville SC will put their undefeated season on the line on Saturday when they travel to Rio Tinto Stadium to face Real Salt Lake for the first time in their Major League Soccer existence.

The 2009 MLS Cup winners lost their first match of the season last Friday, 2-1, to San Jose, while Nashville are coming off their first win in 2021, beating the Eastern Conference-leading New England Revolution 2-0.


Match preview

Real Salt Lake head coach Freddy Juarez, directs his team during the first half against the New York Red Bulls at Rio Tinto Stadium pictured in March 2020© Reuters

In an off-season marred in controversy due to some unpopular remarks made by their soon-to-be former owner Dell Loy Hansen, Freddy Juarez and his side have been able to put all that ugliness aside and focus on football.

There are still plenty of questions about who will take over ownership of the team from Hansen, but in the meantime, this side have done well to earn six points from their opening three matches, their best start to a regular season since 2012.

Salt Lake lost a lot of experience in midfield with the retirement of Kyle Beckerman and the departure of Corey Baird, but, so far, they have done fine without them, as loanee Anderson Julio has a pair of goals and is providing a lot of speed out wide.

Midfielder Damir Kreilach has helped fill the big shoes of Beckerman up to this point of the season, leading the team with three assists and playing a crucial role in this team's early success.

Juarez will be preaching to his squad the importance of playing hard for 90 minutes and never letting up, something they need to improve on, having conceded three of their four goals so far with less than 10 minutes remaining.

After a couple of rough defensive outings to begin the season, Gary Smith and his team have looked much more like the side that surprised everyone in 2020 by qualifying for the post-season.

Last Saturday, they shut down a versatile offensive unit in New England with Walker Zimmerman playing exceptionally well at the back and earning a spot in the MLS Team of the Week alongside his teammate Alex Muyl, who scored their second goal.

Nashville are a side built on defence, and those qualities have got this team back on track after having to fight back from two goals behind to earn two points in their first two matches in 2021.

That being said, this team have shown a desire to attack, recording double-digits in shots in every game so far and outshooting their opponents in all four matches as well.

In their second season in MLS, Nashville will hope to get their first road victory of the season this weekend, an area that they struggled with in their inaugural campaign, going winless in their opening seven fixtures.

Real Salt Lake Major League Soccer form:
  • W
  • W
  • L

Nashville SC Major League Soccer form:
  • D
  • D
  • D
  • W



Team News

Nashville SC head coach Gary Smith walks off the field after falling to Atlanta United at Nissan Stadium in February 2020© Reuters

Playing for his seventh club at the age of 25, Rubio Rubin is off to a good start in his career at Real Salt Lake, netting three times in his last two games, including a spectacular bicycle-kick goal in a losing effort against the San Jose Earthquakes.

Marcelo Silva will hope to reclaim his spot in central defence after being replaced by Erik Holt last Friday.

Silva and Justen Glad were solid together in the first two games of the season and have developed a strong partnership at the back.

As for Nashville, striker Dominique Badji has a hamstring problem, Daniel Rios is out with a foot injury and Abu Danladi is still nursing a muscle injury.

CJ Sapong scored his first goal for Nashville last weekend, while goalkeeper Joe Willis, who led the league with nine clean sheets a season ago, picked up his second straight shutout of this campaign last Saturday.

Real Salt Lake possible starting lineup:
Ochoa; Brody, Silva, Glad, Toia; Ruiz, Besler; Rusnak, Kreilach, Chang; Rubin

Nashville SC possible starting lineup:
Willis; Johnston, Zimmerman, Romney, Lovitz; McCarty, LaGrassa; Leal, Sapong, Muyl; Cadiz


SM words green background

We say: Real Salt Lake 1-2 Nashville SC

Containing Rubio Rubin is a tall order for any side as he has shown to be a handful for opposing defences and a clinical finisher in front of the goal.

However, Nashville have faced some dynamic strikers so far in 2021 and have performed well, shutting out Gonzalo Higuain and Inter Miami while also holding an offensively-gifted New England team scoreless last weekend.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data


ID:447198:1false2false3false:QQ:: from db desktop :LenBod:collect10127:

How you voted: Salt Lake vs Nashville

Real Salt Lake
18.2%
Draw
54.5%
Nashville SC
27.3%
11
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Tables

Eastern Conference

TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1New England RevolutionNew England8521117417
2Philadelphia UnionPhiladelphia842295414
3Orlando City733184412
4New York City FCNY City7322137611
5Nashville SCNashville725096311
6CF MontrealMontreal8323109111
7Columbus Crew732276111
8Atlanta UnitedAtlanta724197210
9New York Red BullsNY Red Bulls7304101009
10DC United8305811-39
11Inter MiamiInter Miami8224813-58
12Toronto7124812-45
13Chicago Fire7115411-74
14FC CincinnatiCincinnati6114615-94

Western Conference

TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1New England RevolutionNew England8521117417
2Philadelphia UnionPhiladelphia842295414
3Orlando City733184412
4New York City FCNY City7322137611
5Nashville SCNashville725096311
6CF MontrealMontreal8323109111
7Columbus Crew732276111
8Atlanta UnitedAtlanta724197210
9New York Red BullsNY Red Bulls7304101009
10DC United8305811-39
11Inter MiamiInter Miami8224813-58
12Toronto7124812-45
13Chicago Fire7115411-74
14FC CincinnatiCincinnati6114615-94

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