Nashville SC book Champions Cup date with Lionel Messi, Inter Miami 


It's on to the Concacaf Champions Cup Round of 16 for Nashville SC after dispatching Moca FC 7-0 on aggregate following a 4-0 second-leg victory Wednesday night at GEODIS Park.

Nashville, who won 3-0 in the opening leg last week in the Dominican Republic, will next face Lionel Messi and Inter Miami CF. It’s a rematch of last year’s Leagues Cup final, won by the Herons on penalty kicks.

McKinze Gaines opened the scoring in the 13th minute, taking an Alex Muyl clipped ball from the end line down off his chest and firing it into the net. Forster Ajago doubled the scoreline in the 38th minute of his Nashville debut, putting away a pinpoint service by Jacob Shaffelburg.

Shaffelburg made it 3-0 just before halftime and Ajago got his brace in the 53rd minute, pouncing on a rebound to close out the decisive victory.


  • 13’ - NSH - McKinze Gaines | WATCH
  • 38’ - NSH - Forster Ajago | WATCH
  • 45’ - NSH - Jacob Shaffelburg | WATCH
  • 53' - NSH - Forster Ajago | WATCH

Three Things

  • THE BIG PICTURE: Nashville took care of business at home to become the seventh MLS team to reach the Round of 16. Now they have a chance to avenge their Leagues Cup final defeat, with Inter Miami coming to Nashville for the first leg on March 7, followed by the second leg on March 13 at Chase Stadium.
  • MOMENT OF THE MATCH: McKinze Gaines got the party started in the Music City, putting the finishing touches on a sequence that started with Shaffelburg finding Muyl, who played a perfect ball into the box.
  • MAN OF THE MATCH: What a night for Ajago, the Ghana native who struck for a brace on his professional debut. It could have been a hat trick if the former Duke University standout finished his 83rd-minute penalty. Still, the rout started with his first Nashville SC goal. Honorable mention goes to Shaffelburg, who set up a pair of goals and scored before the halftime break.

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