GEODIS preview: Nashville SC host Austin FC in crucial Western Conference clash

It’s a battle of Music Cities on Saturday night when Nashville SC (11W-9L-9D, 42 pts.) hosts Austin FC (15W-7L-6D, 51 pts.) for the first time at GEODIS Park.

The Boys in Gold are on a three-game winning streak, outscoring their opponents 11-1 in the process. On Wednesday night, MVP favorite Hany Mukhtar scored the first hat trick in GEODIS Park history to secure a 4-1 win over the Colorado Rapids. That propelled Mukhtar to 19 goals this season, beating his career high of 16 set last season.

Saturday’s game will pit Mukhtar against Austin FC MVP candidate Sebastián Driussi. You won’t want to miss two of Major League Soccer’s most electrifying players going head-to-head. Tickets are available here.

Saturday will also mark Kick Childhood Cancer Night in Music City. Nashville SC joins MLS WORKS and Continental Tire in their support of the KCC campaign by raising funds and organizing acts of kindness for patients, families and healthcare providers at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital in Vanderbilt.

Here’s everything you need to know about Saturday’s game:

When: Saturday, September 3
Time: 7:30 p.m. CST
Location: GEODIS Park (Nashville, Tennessee)
TV: MyTV30
Local stream: NashvilleSC.com/stream, Nashville SC app
English radio: iHeartRadio online, Nashville SC app
Spanish radio: El Jefe 96.7 FM
Tickets
AZ Game Day Guide
GEODIS Park policies
Parking and transportation information
Composition of the day

MVP! MVP! MVP! – Hany Mukhtar is a must right now.

The Nashville SC midfielder is just behind Austin’s Sebastián Driussi in the Golden Boot race with 19 goals and leads MLS in goal contributions (goals + assists) this season with 30. In his three seasons in Nashville, Mukhtar was involved in more than half of Nashville. SC goals in the regular season (66 of 124).

The German striker shone in the summer heat, becoming the fourth player in MLS history to produce at least 12 goals (seven goals, five assists) in a calendar month.

Captain Dax McCarty went to bat for Mukhtar’s MVP campaign after Wednesday’s game.

“For me, there are a lot of great players in this league,” McCarty said. “A lot of guys worth talking about as MVP candidates. But none of them come close to what this guy has done over the last couple of seasons, and there’s no denying that. The hat trick isn’t just the icing on the cake of another wonderful season.

Shaffelburg Scorin’ – Winger Jacob Shaffelburg has already made an impact in just three appearances for the Boys in Gold on loan from Toronto FC.

He scored on his debut against FC Dallas on August 21, then earned a penalty in a 20-minute substitute game against Vancouver Whitecaps FC last Saturday. Wednesday against Colorado, he scored again at GEODIS Park to consolidate Nashville’s lead.

Head coach Gary Smith praised the Nova Scotia native.

“What I expected as a player, I think we got it,” Smith said. “Very dynamic, very lefty which balances our group, extremely energetic and team spirit. If you look at the way he affected our group, the different dimension he gave our team, and of course two goals and a penalty won in the three games he’s been in, I’m not sure I could have expected too much more from a comeback we have at the moment. I’m delighted he’s here and I hope that he will be able to continue to strengthen these performances.

Austin FC Scouting – Austin FC has been one of the stories in the Western Conference this season. After finishing below the playoff line in their inaugural season in 2021, the Verde and Black have climbed the standings this season to take second place in the conference. After beating LAFC 4-1 at Q2 Stadium last Friday, Austin is less than six points from first place.

The team is managed by Driussi, who has a league-leading 20 goals this season. Saturday’s game will be a clash of MVP favorites between Driussi and Nashville’s Mukhtar.

Smith says he knows the challenge ahead of him on Saturday.

“Driussi is a fantastic player,” Smith said. “He’s hugely influential to Austin. He is in a very good position and he is fighting hard for the title of MVP. What I expect is to come across a group that is in a very confident mood. They have tremendous momentum with a wonderful result against LAFC a week ago. I’m sure they feel like they could eventually chase that Western Conference title. The team that comes to town is one of the in-form teams. In the last three games, we are not far from it ourselves.

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