Nashville SC looks to break a newfound habit of picking up only ties on Saturday (8pm ET) when they take on Toronto FC in front of what is becoming an impatient home crowd at Geodis Park. Will they get the desired result? Or can the visitors cause an upset? This preview, with its predictions and betting picks, aims to clarify.
A quick glance at the Western Conference table show that the Nashville boys are in a reasonable position. They’re inside the coveted top six, and are only two points shy of Minnesota, who currently occupy third. Not too bad at all, or so it would seem. If we flip things, the men in yellow are just three points from the bottom half of the table, and if their current form is anything to go by, that might just be where they’re heading. Sure, they’re not the easiest to beat, as a trio of recent ties suggests, but Gary Smith’s men have now won just one of their last eight in all competitions, and that just won’t do.
Fortunately for the hosts, the TFC boys don’t exactly arrive at Geodis Park with the wind in their sails. A valiant effort saw them hold off the New England Revolution on the road last time out. They kept a clean sheet in doing so, though they too have struggled to pick up wins of late, winning just one of their last seven Major League Soccer fixtures. That run combined with no shortage of poor form this season has left TFC in an unflattering 13th position. They have only the even worse efforts of D.C. United to thank for not being bottom of the pile at this stage. Things aren’t looking good for the 2017 MLS Cup winners.
Can’t get their noses in front
Even on their own patch, Saturday’s hosts have found it rather difficult to come out on top in recent times. They come into this fixture off the back of a loss and a tie in their last two at home, while they’ve won only one of their last seven at Geodis Park. They’ve lost just twice during that time, which points towards some level of defensive security, which to be honest, is what Gary Smith’s men have become known for since entering the league, but what they’ve got in solidity, they seem to be lacking in offensive quality.
In truth, a lack of goals has become a problem for the hosts. They have failed to find the net in just one of their last seven in front of a home crowd, but have scored more than once in just one of those seven, and that’s the problem. Only one team in the Western Conference has scored fewer home goals than the team from Music City, who also happen to be the second worst team in the division in terms of expected goals for.
Traveling troubles for Toronto
If things have gone relatively poorly for the hosts at home this season, then things have gone terribly wrong for Toronto on the road. The visitors remain without an away win this term. They’ve lost seven and tied four of their 11 road fixtures, scoring just ten goals in the process. However, as weak as their attack has been, and it has been weak, scoring the third lowest away total in the league, it is what they’ve done at the back that has been most costly.
Keeping teams at bay has been a real problem for TFC. They’ve conceded 20 goals in 11 away games, and the fact that they haven’t conceded more has probably been down to luck as opposed anything else. Conceding an average of 2.35 per fixture, the visitors are the worst team in the Eastern Conference when it comes to expected goals against on the road. This tells us that they find it tough to stop teams from carving out scoring opportunities.
Tight games commonplace
This will be the fourth time that the pair have faced off since Nashville entered the division, and there has never been much between them. They’ve each won one of those four games, both winning by just a goal to nil, while they’ve left the field tied on two occasions. When they last met, back in late 2021, Toronto won by two goals to one. Interestingly, no away team has ever won this fixture.
Another chance for the hosts
Make no mistake about it, the Nashville boys have passed up some very good chances to pick up valuable points at home this season, but this is a gilt-edged opportunity for them to regain the winning thread, and even in their current form, odds of -110 aren’t enough to warrant steering clear of the home win in the betting.
They have the defensive security to hold off what is a weak Toronto attack, an attack that has now scored just one goal in over 200 minutes of recent soccer, while even Nashville’s average of 1.3 goals should be enough. Against what is an awful opposing rear guard, Nashville’s main man is fancied to get on the scoresheet. After all, he has scored in three of his team’s last four at Geodis Park.
Is there a player prop?
Nashville may have been slacking in front of goal in general this term, but Hany Mukhtar certainly has not. The Talismanic German now has 12 MLS goals to his name this season, scoring an average of 0.55 per game, averaging 0.57 expected goals per 90 minutes too. Such stats are hard to ignore. So these are our betting picks and predictions for this Nashville SC vs TFC MLS game preview: