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Oppo Research: 5 Things to know about Nashville SC

NYCFC’s first 2023 opponent deploys two of MLS’s best players in attack and defense, and features some familiar faces.

Keaton Parks in action the last time Nashville and NYCFC faced off |

In this first edition of Oppo Research of the 2023 MLS season, we take a close look at Nashville SC, the 2020 expansion franchise that MLS has yo-yoed between conferences. Now they’re back in the Eastern portion of the league and will face off against New York City FC twice within the first eight matches of the season. 

1. They’re still anchored by the reigning MLS MVP and Golden Boot winner in attack, and a two-time Defender of the Year in defense

Nashville SC attacking midfielder Hany Mukhtar has produced two straight dominant individual seasons in MLS. In 2022 he captured the Golden Boot with 23 goals scored, and almost singlehandedly carried the Nashville attack as he also won MLS MVP. For the season, Mukhtar accounted for 44% of Nashville’s goals scored and 38% of Nashville’s shots on target—he was a one-man wrecking crew. He scored twice against NYCFC in Nashville’s home win over the Boys in Blue back in 2021, so he’s got experience tormenting his first 2023 opponent. There will be no reprieve to be found for NYCFC’s defenders, as while Mukhtar is listed as questionable on the official injury report, Nashville head coach Gary Smith has already confirmed he’ll be good to go against NYCFC

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