Nashville move to 2-0-4 with 10 points thanks to the victory, while Austin FC fall to 2-4-0 and stay on six points with the defeat.
Nashville were on the front foot for much of the first half, and were rewarded with a breakthrough opener in the 35th minute through Leal. The Costa Rican attacker first-timed a cross from Jhonder Cadiz and saw the shot bounce past Austin goalkeeper Brad Stuver and into the net, sending the home crowd at Nissan Stadium into a frenzy. The hosts then very nearly added a second just six minutes after Leal's opener when Cadiz got loose on a breakaway down the right side, but his shot from a tough angle was denied by the post.
Austin had a couple of good chances of their own in the opening frame, most notably from a clean look from Designated Player Cecilio Dominguez in the 14th minute from just inside the area that barely went wide of the Nashville goal.
Austin thought they had struck for a shocking equalizer in the 73rd minute via Jared Stroud, who collected the ball in space on the right outside of the box and beat Nashville goalkeeper Joe Willis with a laser near-post finish. The goal was originally awarded, but was waved off on Video Review as Stroud was ruled offside in the build-up, allowing Nashville to keep their 1-0 advantage.
Nashville had another near-miss in the 82nd minute on a breakaway attempt for Dom Badji, who ran onto a long ball into a one-on-one against Stuver, only to see his shot blocked by the Austin backstop. It turned out to be a moot point, as the hosts managed to bare down, see out the clean sheet, and take all three points.
- 35' - NSH - Randall Leal | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: In a matchup between two of the league's newest teams, it was the second-year outfit that came out on top in this one, as Nashville continued their stellar run of defensive results. Gary Smith's group have now logged four straight clean sheets after yielding two goals in each of their first two games of the season, a streak that has seen them play 407 minutes since their last concession. They generated some high-quality chances in this one too, even if they didn't quite mange to find a second goal.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Leal's second goal of the season might not have been the most aesthetically pleasing finish of the weekend, but they all count the same, and this one turned out to hold up as the game-winning tally.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Four straight shutouts is a noteworthy milestone any way you cut it, so we'll give the honors to Joe Willis for standing tall in goal again and anchoring the defense in his team's latest clean sheet.