Nashville SC scored four unanswered goals after halftime to stun FC Cincinnati with a 6-3 win Wednesday night at TQL Stadium, recovering from an abysmal start to earn a vital three points.
The result officially clinched an MLS Cup Playoff spot for Nashville, who finished the night at second place in the East Conference standings, while Cincinnati secured their third straight Wooden Spoon as the overall table's bottom-feeding side.
HIGHLIGHTS: FC Cincinnati vs. Nashville SC | October 27, 2021
A surprisingly open match saw five goals scored in the first half. Reminiscent of their meeting in the season opener back in April, Cincinnati stunned Nashville with a quick start. An unfortunate deflection from Dave Romney sent the ball into his own net just six minutes in, and Brenner added a second from the penalty spot in the 17th minute.
The Lions had a golden opportunity to finish the game off and go up by three goals in the 24th minute when Brenner once again stepped up to the penalty spot, but his panenka attempt was saved by Joe Willis to keep Nashville in the game. After a Walker Zimmerman trademark headed goal, Cincinnati once again took a two-goal lead through Brandon Vazquez, who carried the ball up from midfield before driving a low shot past Willis into the net.
Randall Leal pulled back a crucial goal for the Boys In Gold just before the break, giving Nashville a lifeline. Gary Smith brought on Aké Loba at the break to galvanize his side, and from then on it was all Nashville. Nashville scored four unanswered goals after the break, including a brace from C.J. Sapong and a first goal in MLS from Loba, giving Nashville an improbable and thoroughly entertaining 6-3 victory.
- 6' - CIN - Dave Romney (OG) | WATCH
- 17' - CIN - Brenner (PK) | WATCH
- 28' - NSH - Walker Zimmerman | WATCH
- 32' - CIN - Brandon Vazquez | WATCH
- 45'+2' - NSH - Randall Leal | WATCH
- 71' - NSH - CJ Sapong | WATCH
- 76' - NSH - Randall Leal | WATCH
- 80' - NSH - Ake Loba | WATCH
- 90'+2' - NSH - CK Sapong | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: Nashville looked on track for their worst result of the season, but picked up their first win in seven matches in thrilling fashion. Despite their early defensive issues, the Boys In Gold will get a huge confidence boost from a goalscoring outburst, and they end the night in second place. Meanwhile, Cincinnati continue to find new ways to lose and undid a lot of good work in the first half with subpar defending.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: While Joe Willis' penalty-kick save kept Nashville within touching distance, Leal's goal just before halftime swung the momentum Nashville's way and kickstarted their comeback.
GOAL: Randall Leal, Nashville SC - 47th minute
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Randall Leal stepped up in two crucial moments. His first goal pulled Nashville back into the game just before the break, and his second proved to be the winner.
- CIN: Sunday, October 31 at Philadelphia Union | 7:30 pm ET (MLS LIVE on ESPN+)
- NSH: Sunday, October 31 at Orlando City SC | 4:00 pm ET (MLS LIVE on ESPN+)