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Recap: Nashville SC set the pace to win 3-1 over D.C. United at Audi Field

The fourth time isn’t the charm for D.C. against Nashville.

MLS: Nashville SC at D.C. United John McCreary-USA TODAY Sports

D.C. United and Nashville SC faced off for the first time since October 2021. However, the Black-and-Red just could not break their winless streak against the Boys in Gold. The clubs duked it out on a steamy afternoon in front of a sold-out Audi Field, with Nashville winning 3-1.

Nashville opened the scoring in the 6’ with Daniel Lovitz sliding a left-footed shot past Rafael Romo and into the top corner of the net.

Taxi Fountas almost found an equalizer in the 9’, taking a shot right outside the box. Unfortunately, his attempt was handily saved by Joe Willis.

In the 16’, C.J. Sapong almost had a chance to rebound and score, but Brendan Hines-Ike held the line to deny him and give Romo enough time to get his gloves on the ball.

Within the first 20 minutes of the match, Nashville had taken the Black-and-Red to task, breaking down their early snappy play with Lovitz’s goal and a few too close for comfort calls.

Andy Najar took a chance right outside the 18,’ but his shot went high, clearing the woodwork. During the waning moments of the half, D.C. managed to find their feet again, trying to press and seeking any opening to answer Nashville.

The Black-and-Red wouldn’t find their equalizer, but rather Hany Mukhtar netted Nashville's second goal of the match. Mukhtar swooped in on the right wing to scoop up a well placed cross by Dax McCarty.

Hany Mukhtar found his second of the match in the 50’, notching a brace to bring Nashville’s lead to 3. Mukhtar sliced through D.C.’s backline, surpassing Brendan Hines-Ike and Steven Birnbaum to slot another ball past Rafael Romo.

At last, D.C. United found an answer to Nashville's flurry of goals. Taxi Fountas took advantage of a cross through traffic by Nigel Robertha to slip a shot past Willis, bringing the scoreline 3-1.

Neither D.C. nor Nashville could find another goal by the final whistle, and the final score of 3-1 stood. Nashville deftly controlled D.C.’s pace and shape to limit opportunities for them to build momentum in the attack.

The Black-and-Red hit the road to take on Orlando City SC on the 4th of July at 7 PM ET at Exploria Stadium.

Three takeaways

  • Taxi is still a difference maker. Taxi Fountas was able to find D.C. United’s only goal of the match, taking advantage of Nigel Robertha’s cross. Without his quick thinking, the scoreline may very well be 3-0.
  • The Black-and-Red need to set the pace and hold their shape. Nashville controlled the pace of the match, keeping D.C. in check and limiting their ability to build momentum. Head coach Chad Ashton said, “It starts with feeling the pressure of being behind and the need to get out to a ball that we don’t need to get out to. We just need to stay compact. Stay patient even at 1-0, just be better in terms of decision-making and understanding.”
  • It’s always the little things. Small mistakes are still costing D.C. opportunities. Precision and clinical finishing will be key to taking back control of the season. Ashton said, “We’re making mistakes at critical times that are costing us possessions, which doesn’t allow us to get on the front foot.”

Box Score

MLS Regular Season - Game 15

D.C. United: 1 Fountas 59’

Nashville SC: 3 Lovitz 6’, Mukhtar 45 + 1’ and 50’,


D.C. United (5-3-2): Rafael Romo, Steven Birnbaum, Brendan Hines-Ike, Andy Najar, Brad Smith (Kimrani Smith 71’), Julian Gressel (Donovan Pines 56’), Sofiane Djeffal (Nigel Robertha 46’), Chris Durkin, Russell Canouse (Drew Skundrich 83’), Ola Kamara (Michael Estrada 56’), Taxi Fountas

Nashville SC (3-5-2): Joe Willis, Jack Mahar, Dave Romney, Walker Zimmerman, Randall Leal Luke Haakenson 62’), Sean Davis, Dax McCarty (Tah Brian Anunga 74’), Daniel Lovitz (Taylor Washington 86’), Alex Muyl, Hany Mukhtar (Ethan Zubak 86’), C.J. Sapong (Aké Loba 74’)

Misconduct Summary

D.C. United: Najar 21’, Birnbaum 63’

Nashville SC: Lovitz 26’, Zimmerman 54’, Romney 60’, Anunga 84’, Haakenson 90’ + 2’