NASHVILLE, Tenn. (July 23, 2023)– Nashville Soccer Club inaugurated its Leagues Cup 2023 run with a 2-1 victory over the Colorado Rapids in its first group stage match on Sunday night at GEODIS Park. Hany Mukhtar scored the opening goal and assisted Jacob Shaffelburg on the eventual match-winner.
After a cagey first half, the reigning Landon Donovan MLS MVP made an instant impact after entering the match in the 55th minute. Barely two minutes onto the pitch, Mukhtar started a counterattack and finished a spinning feed from Dax McCarty to put the Boys in Gold up by one.
Mukhtar assisted Shaffelburg with a goal-line cross to the back post in the 65th minute to double Nashville’s advantage. In the 80th minute, Colorado’s Andrew Gutman took a shot that deflected past Joe Willis and into the back of the net to pull one back for the Rapids. The Boys in Gold withstood a last-gasp barrage from the Rapids and held on for the win.
The Shaffelburg Shuffle: The Canadian international was instrumental in his first start since returning from the 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup duty. His second-half goal was his fourth across all competitions this season.
Mukhtar Making Moves: Sunday’s match saw the MVP return to form with multiple goal contributions at GEODIS Park for the first time since his hat trick against St. Louis CITY SC on June 17. Mukhtar earned the Man of the Match award with his performance.
Godoy to See Ya: After reaching the Gold Cup Final as captain of Panama, midfielder Aníbal Godoy returned to the pitch sporting Electric Gold in the 55th minute for the first time since June 10. Godoy was accurate on 28 of his 29 passes (97% accuracy) and made two interceptions in 35 minutes.
Toluca Up Next: Nashville SC will round out the Leagues Cup group stage at 7:30 p.m. CT on Thursday when it hosts Liga MX’s Toluca at GEODIS Park. A win of any kind would clinch the top spot in the Central 4 Group for Nashville and a guaranteed home match in the Round of 32, while a penalty shootout loss would clinch at least a berth in the knockout stage. Tickets can be purchased here.