Things can change quickly in MLS.

Nashville SC entered their Week 20 match against Seattle Sounders FC on Wednesday night at GEODIS Park holding seventh place in the Western Conference standings. They'd won just two of their last six and were coming off a 4-1 loss at Charlotte FC, their worst-ever margin of defeat in five years under manager Gary Smith, going all the way back through their time at the USL level.

That all changed over 90 minutes. Hany Mukhtar scored another goal, their defense regained its 2021 form, and they earned their second 1-0 win over Seattle this season. They also beat the Concacaf Champions League winners 1-0 on MLS is Back weekend (Feb. 28), completing a sweep of the league's standard-bearers who have made 13 straight Audi MLS Cup Playoffs appearances.

"I'm delighted that we’ve been able to take six points off of one of the, if not the best, team in MLS," Smith said after the match, with NSC now third in the West and ahead of Real Salt Lake on goal differential. " … I think it tells you the sort of fortitude that this group has, just three or four days removed from a difficult away result, to turn themselves around, dust themselves off, and to put in a very positive and aggressive display."

It hasn't been entirely smooth sailing for Nashville at home since GEODIS Park, the largest soccer-specific stadium in the US and Canada, opened on May 1. After weathering an eight-game road trip to start the season, their home form is a passable 3W-1L-4D.

But against Seattle, who were without star striker Raúl Ruidíaz (hamstring) and midfielder João Paulo (season-ending ACL tear), getting a win and a clean sheet was vital.

"It was always our strength to have clean sheets," said Mukhtar, who's one goal off the Golden Boot presented by Audi lead with 11 goals and five assists. "We have to focus on that. The heart of our team was always to be very compact, to be hard to play against and hard to break down. So yeah, we have to stick with that."

Perhaps Nashville's win over Seattle was about more than just three points. The team moved away from the back-five system that they've used heavily the last two seasons, opting instead to try and assert themselves more in possession.

"I think that back four shape was always something that we wanted to evolve to," admitted Smith. "I think here [at GEODIS Park], we’re moving in a more positive and bright and upbeat direction. I think we certainly saw that again tonight. We broke up their play well. We really possessed. We managed the game. We built pressure. We created opportunities."

Mukhtar, a 2022 MLS All-Star, agreed.

"We have to make the next steps with the ball too if we want to be a really, really good team," said the German Designated Player. "When you see the best teams in the world and in the league, they all have quality with the ball and have quality, even if you’re leading 1-0 or 2-0, to control the game with the ball."

It worked for Nashville against Seattle. Now, they'll have an even tougher test on Sunday night (8:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+) when hosting Supporters' Shield challengers LAFC, who could see Gareth Bale make his MLS debut and Giorgio Chiellini get his first MLS start.