Jim Curtin hailed Cavan Sullivan after he became the youngest player in MLS history this week, with more minutes potentially on the horizon when the Philadelphia Union face Nashville SC.

Sullivan replaced Tai Baribo, who scored a hat-trick, for the final five minutes as the Union ended a near-four-month wait for a home win by thrashing the New England Revolution 5-1.

At just 14 years of age, Sullivan has surpassed Freddy Adu as the youngest ever MLS player, also becoming the youngest debutant among the top North American professional sports leagues and the big five European leagues, UEFA Champions League and Europa League, dating back to 1988.

"It was a special, special night," Union head coach Curtin said afterwards. "The place had a buzz. This is just the first chapter in Cavan's career. 

"For those that don't know, we do have a plan for him. It's not just minute by minute or day by day; there is a plan in place. 

"You guys don't get to see him every day in training, but the staff does, and the time was right to give him an opportunity.

"The reality is, guys, he's not a normal kid. We've known that from the start. Because he's different, he has a different plan and a different trajectory to other players in our group."

Sullivan's second senior outing could come against a Nashville team sitting 10th in the Eastern Conference, two points above Philadelphia, but looking over their shoulders after five straight defeats.

The latest of those losses – a comprehensive 3-0 reverse against Orlando City – led forward Jacob Shaffelburg to demand better.

"We haven't been playing well for the fans" Shaffelburg said. 

"They should know that we're trying our hardest, we're working hard, but they do deserve better. We got to give them better."


Philadelphia Union – Tai Baribo

On Wednesday, Baribo became the first Israeli player in MLS history to score a hat-trick. 

Israel is the 50th different nation to produce a player that scored at least three goals in an MLS match.

Nashville SC – Hany Mukhtar 

Nashville attempted eight shots in their defeat to Orlando on Wednesday, the 12th time this season they have been held to fewer than 10 shots in an MLS match. 

Mukhtar (41) has created more than twice as many chances as his next closest team-mate this year, with Sam Surridge teeing up 17 attempts. His creativity could be key.


Nashville have lost five straight matches for the first time in club history with three of those defeats coming on the road. 

They have managed only two wins in their last 12 away from home across all competitions (three draws, seven defeats), so approach this one as clear outsiders.

The Union, meanwhile, are unbeaten in their last six meetings with Nashville, winning three and drawing three, including a 2-1 road victory in early April.


Philadelphia Union – 45.1%

Nashville SC – 28%

Draw – 26.9%

D.C. United head coach Troy Lesesne insisted his players must be "ready to fight" to halt their winless streak ahead of their meeting with Nashville SC this weekend.

The Black-and-Red were beaten 5-0 by Orlando City last time out, extending their losing run to 11 MLS matches, which leaves them rooted to the bottom of the Eastern Conference table.

D.C.’s last triumph came back in May against Atlanta United courtesy of Christian Benteke’s hat-trick.

Lesesne said his players will regroup once again, going on to explain that no one will feel sorry for his side during their baron spell of results.

“We’re in a tough spot right now, there is no doubt about it,” Lesesne said. “I think the last eight matches, there’s got to be more from us to get us out of this spot and be able to get us into a winning position.

“We have a lot of work to do and there are many things that we have to address.

“Nashville are a team that are going to be another challenge and we have to, right now, regroup in a big way.

“We have to understand that no one is going to feel sorry for us and we have got to get ready to fight.”

Nashville also find themselves enduring a losing streak of their own.

The Coyotes are without a win in their last three MLS fixtures as they were comfortably beaten 4-1 by Portland Timbers in their most recent league encounter.

The Timbers found themselves four goals to the good in just 29 minutes at Providence Park, marking the fifth time that they had conceded four goals in a match this season.

Nashville’s defeat leaves them in eighth place in the Eastern Conference. In a battle between two of the division’s out of form sides, a win for either will be crucial to get their respective campaigns back on track.


D.C. United – Christian Benteke

With D.C. experiencing a difficult spell, the goals and experience of Christian Benteke will be pivotal in achieving a long-awaited victory.

Benteke is the Black-and-Reds’ top scorer with 14 goals in 19 appearances this season, equalling his best tally for the club (14 goals in 2023) in 22 fewer outings.

Nashville are one of only eight teams the Belgian is yet to score against since his move to the MLS in 2022, and he will be keen to add to his tally this weekend.

Nashville SC – Sam Surridge

Sam Surridge scored Nashville’s only goal against Portland Timbers last time out, ending a run of two games without a goal following his brace against Toronto FC.

Surridge is the club’s top scorer this season with 10 goals in 20 appearances in all competitions, and without the attacking threat of Jacob Shaffelburg, he will be key in the attacking areas for Nashville.


Nashville come into the contest with D.C. United unbeaten in their previous six encounters (W4 D2). But they will be hopeful of ending their winless run at Audi Field, with both of those draws coming at the home of the Black-and-Red.

The Coyotes, however, are enduring a winless streak of their own. They have lost three consecutive league matches, allowing eight goals in those games. Nashville had lost only two of its previous 11 league games (W5 D4), conceding just seven total times in that span.

D.C. United’s winless run reached 11 matches (D3 L8) following their defeat at Orlando City on Saturday. This is the longest winless run in MLS this season and D.C.’s third-longest in a single regular season (12 and straight, both in 2013).


D.C. United – 32.7%

Draw – 25.5%

Nashville SC – 41.8%

Nashville SC interim head coach Rumba Munthali says his main aim is to get the club into a "positive spot" as they look to get back to winning ways against Columbus Crew.

Inter Miami ended Nashville's three-match MLS unbeaten streak on Saturday, with the Coyotes unable to mount a second-half comeback.

It leaves them seventh in the Eastern Conference, with the teams below them starting to close in on the last final series spot.

However, Munthali was optimistic following the defeat, explaining his focus is on the players' continued improvement.

"Against Miami, I thought we should have done better with defending set pieces and the scoring chances we had in the first half," Munthali said. "In the second half, we showed some fight, some resolve, and I commend the guys for that.

"My job at the club is to help players get better. It's just working in a different capacity [as head coach].

"I like helping players and I think they know that. My mindset hasn't changed. We're really looking towards the next game to make sure our club is in a good positive spot."

Meanwhile, Columbus sit three points above them in the table on 33 points.

The Crew have won their last two matches by an aggregate scoreline of 9-1, with Cucho Hernandez scoring four of those goals, with head coach Wilfried Nancy full of praise for his star man.

"Cucho scores goals, but he also makes chances," Nancy said. "He was sad because he was on the side with some back pain, and he wanted to come back and help the team. Now he is, it's good for the team and good for him."


Columbus Crew – Cucho Hernandez

Hernandez has been the star man for Columbus this season, and not just in the last two games when he has stepped up his goalscoring.

He has scored 10 goals so far this season – the most of any player for the Crew – with half of those coming in his last three outings for the club.

Nashville SC – Tyler Boyd

Tyler Boyd scored his first goal of the season during Nashville's most recent win, netting the winner against New York City FC.

While he could not follow that up against Miami at the weekend, he had the second-most shots for the team, though he did not test the goalkeeper.


Columbus have won three of their previous eight meetings with Nashville in MLS, winning their last such home match against the Coyotes in June 2023 (2-0).

Having gone on a seven-match winless streak from late March to early May, Columbus have since lost just one of their last seven in MLS (winning the other six).

Nashville are unbeaten in their previous four road matches, conceding just once in that run (during a 2-1 win over Toronto FC). They will be hoping to extend that run by getting their first win at Columbus since April 2022.


Columbus Crew – 58.2%

Draw – 27.18%

Nashville SC – 20%

Jordi Alba filled in for his absent Inter Miami stars Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez as the Herons made it three MLS wins on the spin with a 2-1 victory over Nashville SC.

With his former Barcelona team-mates Messi and Suarez away at the Copa America, Alba provided the stardust as he volleyed home in the 44th minute on Saturday to put the away team 2-0 up.

The Spaniard's sensational strike, which came with an expected goals (xG) value of just 0.01, arrived four minutes after Ian Fray had headed home from Julian Gressel's corner to nose Miami ahead.

Yannick Bright's clumsy challenge on Tyler Boyd provided Hany Mukhtar the chance to drag Nashville back into the contest in the second half - an opportunity the German duly took from the penalty spot.

Forster Ajago almost completed the comeback, but Miami goalkeeper Drake Callender made a fine save to deny the hosts a late equaliser.

Miami remain top of the Eastern Conference, two points clear of FC Cincinnati.

Data Debrief: Gressel the creator

Gressel provided an assist to Fray for Miami's opener against Columbus Crew on June 19, and that duo teamed up again this time out.

Since he joined MLS in 2017, Gressel has provided 62 assists, with only Cincinnati's Luciano Acosta (65) setting up more goals.

Gerardo Martino is "the perfect fit" for Inter Miami, so says Julian Gressel.

Miami are top of MLS ahead of playing Nashville SC this weekend, having taken 41 points from 20 matches.

It has been an epic turnaround in fortunes for the Herons, who have been MLS' form team since the arrivals of Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba last year.

This season, that trio have been formed by their former Barcelona team-mate Luis Suarez, who like Messi, has netted 12 goals in the league so far in 2024.

Yet with both Messi and Suarez absent due to the ongoing Copa America, Miami's form has not dropped off.

And Gressel, who supplied an assist in Miami's 2-1 win over the Columbus Crew last time out, says Martino deserves all the credit.

"Tata is the perfect fit for this team," he told the Miami Herald. "He has the intensity to push younger guys but also the experience and knowledge of how to manage a really successful team with stars.

"He knows MLS. He knows Leo Messi and Busquets and Jordi and Suarez. He can combine all that knowledge he gained over those years and really bring out the best in us.

"When Miami made that hire, I wasn't with the club yet, but I remember thinking: 'This is absolutely a no-brainer.'

"You don't really coach Leo Messi anymore, or Luis Suarez; Those guys are so beyond that, so it's about managing them and managing the team around them.

"He has a really good feel for that."

Former Barca boss Martino credited his work in charge of national teams as the ideal preparation for this job.

"Of course, it is rare for four stars to show up together, especially in MLS, but dealing with young players and stars is not new to me," Martino said.

"As a national team coach, you often have world-class players with a lot of experience, and you collaborate with the young players who are developing.

"As a coach, your job is not restricted to training during the week and playing games on weekends. You are also expected to develop and integrate young players while coexisting with the big-name players."


Nashville SC - Sam Surridge

Hany Mukhtar has not quite scaled the same heights as in seasons gone by in 2024, but striker Surridge has provided the goals. He leads the way for Nashville, with seven strikes in MLS.

Inter Miami - Julian Gressel

Gressel’s assist for Ian Fray to score Miami’s opening goal against Columbus was his 61st MLS assist.

Since he joined MLS in 2017, only Luciano Acosta (65) has recorded more assists than Gressel.


Nashville limited New York City FC to no shots on target in their 1-0 win on Saturday. It marked the sixth time since the start of the 2021 season that Nashville have not allowed a shot on target in a match, the most such games in the league in that time.

Miami are now on 41 points. Of the 11 previous teams that averaged more than 2.0 points per match through 20 games of the season, 10 went on to win the Supporters' Shield, with the exception being Toronto FC in the shortened 2020 season.

The Herons are unbeaten in six straight meetings with Nashville SC in all competitions (W3 D3) including winning the last two.

Prior to the last two games, Miami had won only two of their first 11 matches against Nashville in all competitions (D5 L4).


Nashville SC - 37.8%

Inter Miami - 35.7%

Draw - 26.4%

New York Red Bulls captain Sean Nealis has vowed the team will learn from last week's defeat to the New England Revolution, when they were hamstrung by several absences.

The Red Bulls were beaten 1-0 in Foxborough following a run of four wins in five matches, with Lewis Morgan and Emil Forsberg among the big names missing due to international duty.

The result left them fourth in the Eastern Conference standings, six points adrift of Supporters' Shield frontrunners Inter Miami.

"We separated ourselves from the bottom half of the group and now we're kind of just lying there in the middle," centre-back Nealis said as he reflected on New York's last result.

"We'll learn from this. We'll get better from it. This is a young group out there. 

"A lot got their first minutes of the season and I think we'll all learn how to get better and how to understand these environments and then get over the hump."

Nashville, meanwhile, sit ninth in the East, 10 points adrift of the Red Bulls. 

They have taken four points from four games (one win, two draws, one defeat) since Rumba Munthali took over as interim head coach following the firing of Gary Smith.

They were also beaten by the Revs on their last MLS outing before the international break, and Munthali believes keeping players fresh will be key if they are to improve.   

"It's a quick turnaround, and we have a lot of confidence in the group," Munthali said. 

"We try to balance that, and we want to make sure guys are available for the whole season, not just game to game.

"It's about managing and making sure we're not straining guys and breaking them."


New York Red Bulls – Elias Manoel

Having seen the likes of Morgan and Forsberg go on international duty, the Red Bulls could be left to rely on Manoel.

He has three goals and three assists in MLS play this term, despite only making eight starts. Only Morgan (nine) and Forsberg (six) have outscored him for New York.

Nashville SC – Hany Mukhtar 

Mukhtar scored Nashville's only goal in their defeat to New England on June 1 from the penalty spot. 

He has been directly involved in each of Nashville's last four MLS goals (two goals, two assists, with the last Nashville goal without a Mukhtar involvement coming on May 15.


Nashville ended a seven-game run without an away victory by beating FC Cincinnati 2-0 on May 29, just their second win in their last 16 away league matches. 

However, they may struggle on Saturday against a team unbeaten in 10 straight home games (seven wins, three draws), dating back to last year's playoffs.

The Red Bulls are also unbeaten in their last five meetings with Nashville, winning two and drawing three while only conceding once in that sequence. 


New York Red Bulls – 52%

Nashville SC – 23.5%

Draw – 24.5% 

Pat Noonan believes being able to win in different ways has been the key to FC Cincinnati's fine run of form, as the Orange and Blue look to make it eight straight victories against Nashville SC on Wednesday.

Cincinnati have won their last seven league games to surge up the Eastern Conference standings, and they currently sit just one point adrift of leaders Inter Miami with a game in hand.

They overcame fellow high-fliers Toronto FC by a 4-3 scoreline in a thriller last time out, and Noonan has praised his players for being adaptable in the face of different challenges. 

"It's hard to win in this league and it's hard to win consecutively like we've done," Noonan said. 

"I think what we're able to do is adapt in games and win in different ways. When we need to have the quality with the ball and score goals, we were able to do that. 

"We've seen the one-goal wins, and finally being able to win a game by two goals last week against St. Louis City. So we can win in different ways, which is important."

Nashville, meanwhile, are still awaiting their first win under interim coach Rumba Munthali, having played out back-to-back draws with Atlanta United (1-1) and CF Montreal (0-0) since they fired Gary Smith.

"It's been good, it's been positive," Munthali said of the team's work on the training ground. 

"The guys have done the work that was asked of them and have been really positive and receptive, especially at a tough time in this transition."


FC Cincinnati – Luciano Acosta

Acosta assisted Cincinnati's winner last Saturday, his ninth straight regular-season match with a goal contribution, equalling the longest run in MLS since the start of the 2023 season. 

Since 2000, only six players have recorded a double-digit streak of regular-season games with a goal contribution.

Nashville SC – Hany Mukhtar 

Mukhtar created five chances for team-mates in Nashville's draw with Montreal last time out, his most in a match this season. 

Nine of the 19 chances Mukhtar has created this year have come in two games against Montreal, with just 10 in his other 10 matches. Will that performance be a turning point? 


Nashville have only won only one of their last 16 MLS away matches (six draws, nine defeats including playoffs), including going winless in their last eight (four draws, four losses). 

Nashville's last road win over an Eastern Conference foe came over a year ago, a 2-1 victory at Charlotte FC on May 20, 2023.

Cincinnati's 4-3 win at Toronto last time out was their 31st victory in their last 50 regular-season matches dating back to October 2022, the most wins in a span of 50 regular-season matches in MLS in the post-shootout era (since 2000).


FC Cincinnati – 56.5%

Nashville SC – 21.6%

Draw – 21.9%

Nashville SC interim head coach Rumbani Munthali aims to get a more recognizable look about the team as he prepares for his second game in charge against CF Montreal.

Gary Smith, who led Nashville for seven years, made a shock exit following their 2-0 win over Toronto FC on May 16, with Munthali stepping up from player development coach to take his place.

Nashville’s first game under him ended in a 1-1 draw with Atalanta United on Saturday, leaving them 11th in the Eastern Conference.

With little time to put his stamp on the team, Munthali believes being able to welcome back injured players will help to get them back on track.

"I think as you see players come back into the team [from injury], you see that we're starting to be a little more recognizable as a team that went on a 10-game undefeated streak last season," Munthali said. 

"What I would hope is you get a team that represents what the club is: hard-working, forward-thinking and positive, and I hope that's a team we can put onto the field that will compete from start to finish.

"I think those are the cornerstones of who we are as a club."

Montreal are on a four-game losing streak that started with a 4-1 defeat to Nashville, and head coach Laurent Courtois accepts they need to do more to get back to winning ways.

"Doing my 'job' is not enough. We have to be ready to offer a little 'extra' and help each other out. For the moment, in fits and starts, I have the impression that we are just doing our job.

"Now, we are doing our mea culpa, we are coming back to things that we thought we had figured out."


Montreal – Sunusi Ibrahim

In the absence of top-scorer Matias Coccaro, Ibrahim netted Montreal’s lone goal in their defeat to Toronto last week. Montreal have scored in all four games during their current losing run, with the Nigerian extending that run.

Nashville – Hany Mukhtar

Mukhtar attempted five shots, including scoring Nashville’s lone goal from the penalty spot, against Atlanta United on Saturday, taking him to 404 career shot attempts in regular-season MLS play. No other player has attempted 300 shots since Mukhtar joined the league in 2020.


Montreal’s lone win in eight all-time meetings with Nashville SC came in their last home match against them, a 1-0 win in June 2023. Nashville has won five of the other seven meetings (D2), including a 4-1 victory on May 4.

However, Nashville have won only one of their last 15 MLS away matches (D5 L9 incl. playoffs) dating back to early June 2023. Nashville scored three goals in the lone win in that time (3-0 at Kansas City) but have totaled just five goals in the other 14 matches.

Meanwhile, Montreal have lost four straight matches within a single regular season for the first time since September 2020. They haven’t lost five in a row in a single regular season since a five-match losing run to end the 2017 campaign.


Montreal – 39%

Draw – 27.8%

Nashville – 33.2%

Nashville SC are ignoring any suggestions that an MLS playoff position is out of their reach ahead of the midweek clash with Toronto at GEODIS Park.

That was the message from the Boys in Gold head coach Gary Smith, whose side sit 13th in the Eastern Conference after their 1-0 defeat to Charlotte FC last time out.

Nashville are still only three points adrift of ninth-placed Philadelphia Union and a place in the postseason, with Smith refusing to give up hope.

"I don't believe, and nor do any of the guys in the group, that we are by any way, shape or form, out of the hunt for a playoffs position," he said. 

"A couple of results get you right back in to the mix again, and that's, of course, our challenge over the next two games."

Toronto are fourth in the East standings after their 3-2 defeat against New York City FC in their last outing.

Visiting head coach John Herdman is looking forward to facing a familiar face in Jacob Shaffelburg when his side visit, however.

"He's flying at Nashville," Herdman remarked on Monday. "I've seen some stats at the weekend about his impact on their team and how many touches he has in that opposition half and how many crosses are leading to goals. 

"I remember having him in that Gold Cup recently. He came off the bench and scored against the US. It shows where he's at now as a player."


Nashville SC – Sam Surridge

Former Nottingham Forest striker Sam Surridge continues to provide the goals for Nashville this term, scoring a club-leading five in MLS this campaign.

The Englishman failed to find the target against Charlotte, but managed a hat-trick against CF Montreal in his previous outing before that.

Toronto – Prince Osei Owusu

In the absence of the in-form Federico Bernardeschi, Prince Osei Owusu will be expected to step up against Nashville.

The Toronto forward leads the club scoring charts with five goals in 12 MLS appearances this year, two ahead of any teammate in the league.


Opta's win probability has Nashville as the overwhelming favourites for this one, yet a draw may be more likely considering each team's recent form and head-to-head records.

Toronto are unbeaten in five straight meetings with Nashville (W2 D3), with the Boys in Gold the only side the Canadians have played three or more times since the start of the 2022 season and not lost against.

Nashville have also won only two of their last 16 matches against MLS opponents in all competitions (D6 L8), though 11 of the 12 points they have collected over that time have come at home (W2 D5 L3).

Smith's hosts have conceded at least once in 12 consecutive matches in all competitions, too, their longest streak in club history after opening the season with three straight clean sheets.


Nashville SC win: 55.4%

Toronto win:18.6%

Draw: 26%

Gary Smith believes his Nashville side's thumping of CF Montreal last weekend is a step in the right direction as they look to build their "belief".

The 4-1 victory over Montreal, which saw striker Sam Surridge net a hat-trick, ended a run of five games without a win and moved Nashville up to 12th in the Eastern Conference.

As Nashville look to push further up the table when they travel to Charlotte FC this weekend, Smith is looking for his players to build on the Montreal performance.

"[The Montreal victory was] the first step in a long journey for us to get back to some rhythm, some success, put ourselves back in a position where there’s some belief here again that we can get results," Smith told reporters.

"We've seen we can score goals. I think that belief that we can win games again, this is the first step on that road.”

Charlotte also tasted victory last time out, beating the Portland Timbers 2-0 at home to leave them sixth in the East.

Midfielder Ashley Westwood hopes he and his team-mates can carry on the momentum from that triumph, saying: "It was a complete performance.

"During the game it felt comfortable. We felt like were in control with the ball and without the ball. We need to push on from that now."


Charlotte FC – Nikola Petkovic

Petkovic scored his first goal of the season against Portland, becoming one of 10 different players to score a goal for Charlotte this term, the most of any MLS team. Having netted his first of the campaign, he will be hungry for more this weekend.

Nashville – Hany Mukhtar

Mukhtar has scored four goals in four career regular season matches against Charlotte FC, one of five opponents he's scored at least four times against in his MLS career. Though Surridge got the plaudits last time out, Mukhtar may be the main goal threat against a side he seems to have success against.


Charlotte have lost only two of their last 24 home matches in all competitions since March last season (13 wins, nine draws). Every MLS team besides Charlotte and the Columbus Crew (one loss) have at least four home losses in that time.

Nashville's 4-1 win over Montreal was just the club’s second win since the beginning of March in all competitions. Nashville's only other win in that time was a victory over Charlotte on March 16.

Charlotte won their first meeting with Nashville, a 4-1 home victory in July 2022. However, Nashville are unbeaten in the three meetings since, and though they are on the road, they may have enough to earn a point this weekend.


Charlotte: 38.1%

Nashville: 32.2%

Draw: 29.7%

Nashville SC coach Gary Smith knows his struggling side must make the most of their home games as they look to snap a five-match winless run against CF Montreal on Saturday.

Nashville sit a lowly 14th in the Eastern Conference standings with just eight points from nine matches, their only league victory of 2024 coming against Charlotte FC in mid-March.

They were pegged back in a 1-1 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes last time out as the pressure on Smith intensified further, and he knows they are running out of time to turn things around.

"We're all very appreciative and understanding of the fact the home games represent the very best opportunity to earn points," Smith said. 

"But I wouldn't say that I feel any more pressure than I have done for any other home game or any other fixture."

Montreal, meanwhile, have seen their preparations overshadowed by reports that star midfielder Mathieu Choiniere has requested a transfer after entering the last year of his contract.

While boss Laurent Courtois is none the wiser as to Choiniere's intentions, he is keen to see the homegrown talent stay put. 

"Everyone loves Mathieu, everyone wants him to be valued, everyone wants him to stay here," Courtois said. 

"Everyone wants him here to lift the club as high as possible, for as long as possible.

"There will be discussions between players and the club to improve their contractual situations everywhere, and it doesn't always need to be in the public eye.

"I don't know the accuracy of the rumour that came out. The club hasn't told me anything."


Nashville SC – Hany Mukhtar

Mukhtar scored with one of his six shots against San Jose last time out. 

He has taken a total of 388 shots since joining MLS in 2020, 100 more than any other player in the league in that time.

CF Montreal – Bryce Duke

Montreal managed just eight shots in their scoreless draw with the Columbus Crew last time out. Only Austin FC (7.8) have averaged fewer shots per match than Montreal (9.6) in MLS this season.

Duke has created nine chances for team-mates this campaign, a tally only matched by Choiniere among Montreal players. If they are to improve their attacking output, he will have a key role to play.


Nashville have only managed three wins in 21 MLS matches since the end of the Leagues Cup last August (10 draws, eight losses, including playoffs). 

They are also winless in their last five, drawing two and losing three, but the visit of a Montreal team who do not travel well could be a boost for Smith's men.

Montreal have gone four away games without a victory, failing to score in any of their last three and conceding 10 goals throughout that run. This game may just come at a good time for the hosts. 


Nashville SC – 49.4%

CF Montreal – 23%

Draw – 27.6%

Lionel Messi was at his brilliant best for Inter Miami on Saturday, scoring two goals and adding an assist en route to a 3-1 victory over Nashville SC.

After a Franco Negri own goal gave Nashville the advantage early, Messi equalised in the 11th minute and set up Sergio Busquets’ 39th minute goal to make it a 2-1 score at half-time.

Following a back-and-forth second half, the Argentinian slotted a penalty in the 81st minute to put the result out of reach.

Speaking after the match, Busquets said in Spanish: “Very happy that the goal helped the team win the match.

“What matters is the team and the victory. Today, I managed to score but the ultimate accomplishments are the positive results for our team.”

Messi improved his MLS-leading goals tally to seven, following a previous two-goal game against Orlando in March.

The veteran has now scored a goal or assisted in each of the six league matches he has played, having missed four due to injury.

Miami remains in first place in the Eastern Conference, with the side scheduled to face New England next Saturday.

Nashville SC coach Gary Smith is not looking forward to his team facing Lionel Messi for the third time this year, with the Inter Miami star fit and firing ahead of Saturday's MLS clash in Fort Lauderdale.

A hamstring issue caused Messi to spend almost a month on the sidelines before he returned with a goal in Miami's 2-2 draw with the Colorado Rapids earlier this month.

The Argentina great was then on the scoresheet again last weekend, as Miami ended a five-game winless run with an entertaining 3-2 success against Sporting Kansas City.

With Messi also scoring in both legs of a CONCACAF Champions Cup triumph over Nashville in March, Smith is sick of the sight of the eight-time Ballon d'Or winner.

"I'm a little bit disappointed that Lionel Messi has gotten himself back into tip-top sharp form as we come back into town again!" Smith said.

"I think that what we can safely say is when he's in the group, there's a very, very different feel and look and inspiration about that team."

Nashville are winless in three games since beating Charlotte FC 2-1 last month, with Daniel Gazdag's last-gasp strike condemning them to a 2-1 defeat against the Philadelphia Union last time out.

Smith believes his team are at least giving themselves a chance of picking up results, adding: "When we've got our best group on the field — and we need to have our best group on the field — we're very competitive."

Miami's win over Kansas City ensured they will enter the weekend top of the Eastern Conference standings, and boss Gerardo Martino is pleased to see them setting the pace.

"Being first in the standings is comforting, especially with a long week ahead," Martino said. "It was very important for us to get out of that rut of getting ties, losses, and making mistakes."



Inter Miami – Lionel Messi

Messi has been involved in at least one goal in each of his first five league games of the season, the second time he's done so in his career, having achieved the feat in six straight matches with Barcelona to begin 2013-14 in LaLiga.

The Argentine has also managed at least one goal involvement in each of his eight appearances for Miami across all competitions in 2024, including two goals and one assist in two matches against Nashville.

Nashville SC – Jacob Shaffelburg

Shaffelburg has assisted each of Nashville's last two MLS goals, one in each of their last two matches.

Previously, he had only recorded one assist in his first 40 regular-season matches with Nashville. Will his purple patch continue in Florida?


Nashville have only managed one win in their last 15 away games against MLS opponents across all competitions (six draws, eight defeats).

That run, which stretches back to June 2023, includes a draw and a loss against Miami, who are also unbeaten in five straight head-to-head meetings between the teams (two wins, three draws).

Last week's 3-2 win over Sporting KC was the 11th time Miami have scored three or more goals in their 22 games with Messi making an appearance, across all competitions. They have only scored three or more goals on 15 occasions in their 134 all-time games without the Argentine. He should be involved on Saturday, and that makes them favourites. 


Inter Miami – 36.6%

Nashville SC – 33.8%

Draw – 29.6%

Mikael Uhre netted a hat-trick as Philadelphia Union snapped their five-game MLS winless run with a 4-2 victory over Toronto on Saturday.

Union took an early lead after Lukas MacNaughton's 16th-minute own goal before Denmark international Uhre bagged a double before half-time.

Uhre added a third in the 56th minute to round out his hat-trick, tapping in Julian Carranza's low ball across goal and put the contest to bed.

Toronto pulled one back through Italy international Lorenzo Insigne in the 66th minute, before Richie Laryea's stoppage-time consolation.

New England reinforced their grip on top spot in the Eastern Conference with a 2-1 home win over Sporting KC, who are last overall.

Giacomo Vrioni netted a first-half brace for the Revs, but Sporting pulled one back in the 50th minute from Johnny Russell, only to be reduced to 10 men when Andreu Fontas was sent off 10 minutes later.

The Revs are ahead of second-placed Cincinnati on goal difference, with Cincy winning 2-1 over Portland Timbers after strikes from Sergio Santos and Brandon Vasquez.

New York City moved up to fourth in the East with a 3-1 home win over Dallas sparked by Santiago Rodriguez's double.

Western Conference leaders St Louis City were denied victory after Michael Barrios' 90th-minute equaliser as they drew 1-1 at Colorado Rapids.

St Louis remain top in the West but only on goal difference from Seattle Sounders who condemned Minnesota United to three straight losses with a 1-0 victory.

Denis Bouanga netted his seventh goal of the MLS season as LAFC drew 1-1 at Nashville, while LA Galaxy snapped their winless start to the campaign with a 2-0 home victory over Austin.

Inter Miami's losing run extended to six in a row, compounding the pressure on boss Phil Neville, as they went down 1-0 at Houston Dynamo.

Real Salt Lake beat San Jose Earthquakes 3-1, Charlotte defeated Columbus Crew 1-0, struggling Montreal edged New York Red Bulls 2-0 and Christian Benteke scored as DC United won 3-1 at Orlando City.

Gary Smith is hopeful the goals will soon start to flow for Nashville SC as they prepare to face Los Angeles FC this weekend.

Nashville have scored just seven goals through their opening eight games this campaign and have fired blanks in half of those matches.

At the opposite end of the field, Smith's side have the best defensive record in the entire MLS with only four goals conceded thus far.

On the back of a 2-1 loss at New York City FC last time out, Smith wants to see his side turn chances into goals, starting against the reigning MLS Cup champions on Saturday.

"It's always frustrating when you get beat, particularly when you have some difficulties in finding the back of the net and not being a bit more clear-cut with chances," Smith said. 

"I've said before that I have every faith in the guys and I have no doubt they'll come good. It'll be nice to see a game where we hit the back of the net three or four times. 

"That could be the shot in the arm the group need, but there is no cause for concern at this point – there is plenty of other good things going on."

LAFC won the Supporters' Shield last season are unbeaten so far this campaign, winning five and drawing two of their matches to sit second in the Western Conference.

But despite Nashville's scoring issues, LAFC head coach Steve Cherundolo is expecting a difficult contest at Geodis Park.

"They're a team that's tough to beat," he said. "We've seen they're a well-coached team who prides themselves on keeping clean sheets and concedes few chances. 

"On the other side, they don't score a lot. They create chances, are dangerous from set-pieces and on the counter, but they're not scoring a lot at the minute. 

"But especially in Nashville, they're extremely difficult to beat. Points at this stage of the season are points – every team has the same attitude right now."


Nashville - Hany Mukhtar

Mukhtar has scored two and assisted three of Nashville's seven goals this season, including a late consolation strike at New York City last time out.

However, his past three goal contributions have come on the road – never before has he played three straight MLS home matches without scoring or assisting a single goal.

LAFC - Carlos Vela

Vela continues to be a key player for LAFC, with the former Mexico international scoring back-to-back braces in all competitions.

The 34-year-old was involved in all three of his side's goals in their win over LA Galaxy last week – the 10th time he has contributed to three or more goals in an MLS game.



Los Angeles FC's 17 points from their opening seven games is their second-best return at this stage, bettered only in 2019 when collecting 19.

Their unbeaten streak spans 10 matches stretching back into last season, though that run has to come to an end eventually.

LAFC were victorious on their only previous trip to Nashville last year, but Smith's side have not lost multiple home games against a single opponent on home soil.


Nashville - 42.1 per cent
LAFC - 29.6 per cent
Draw - 28.3 per cent

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