Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Nashville SC v Atlanta United: Long-time coach Smith departs in shock move

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 17 May 2024

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Gary Smith has left Nashville SC, with the team confirming they have parted company with their long-serving head coach.

Nashville beat Toronto FC on Wednesday, moving up to 10th in the Eastern Conference.

Yet on Thursday, the team confirmed they had decided to part ways with Smith, who had been in charge for seven seasons.

Smith won 52 MLS games during his spell in charge, while also leading Nashville to the Leagues Cup final in 2023.

Nashville face Atlanta United on Saturday, with ex-player and now player development coach Rumba Munthali stepping in as interim head coach.

No reason was provided for Smith’s departure. He has been joined in leaving the club by assistant coach Steve Guppy.

A Nashville statement read: “Nashville SC extends its gratitude to Smith and Guppy for their dedication and contributions to our team and wishes them and their families all the best in their future endeavours.

“Under Smith’s leadership, Nashville SC emerged as a very organised and hard-to-beat team in both leagues.

“In the USL Championship, Smith guided the team to a 32-win record over two seasons, including two playoff appearances and a second-place finish in the Eastern Conference in 2019.

“His transition to MLS with the club was seamless, leading Nashville to four consecutive MLS Cup playoff appearances, a feat only achieved by two other teams in the league’s history.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Nashville SC – Hany Mukhtar

Mukhtar has scored five goals in nine career regular-season matches against Atlanta. Only Luciano Acosta (nine goals in 17 games) has scored more times against the Five Stripes.

Atlanta United – Thiago Almada

Almada has scored in all three of his career MLS matches against Nashville. No player has ever scored in four consecutive regular-season meetings versus Nashville, though Daryl Dike did score in four straight for Orlando City, including playoff games.

MATCH PREDICTION: NASHVILLE WIN

Despite Smith’s departure, Opta’s model still predicts a positive outcome for Nashville.

Atlanta are winless in 11 straight MLS away matches (D5 L6 incl. playoffs) dating back to last September. It is the longest active road winless run in MLS.

Nashville have won two straight home matches, their first regular-season home winning streak since a run of six straight last April-July. They managed just two wins in 12 home league games between the two streaks (D6 L4).

Atlanta’s 4-0 home win over Nashville last August ended a seven-match winless run for them in the series (D3 L4). Atlanta won their first visit to Nashville, 2-1, in the latter’s inaugural match in March 2020, but the Five Stripes are winless in five visits in all competitions since (D2 L3).

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Nashville SC – 46.2%

Atlanta United – 25.5%

Draw – 28.3%

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

SoccerNews

Soccernews.com is news blog for soccer with comprehensive coverage of all the major leagues in Europe, as well as MLS in the United States. In addition we offer breaking news for transfers and transfer rumors, ticket sales, betting tips and offers, match previews, and in-depth editorials.

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