Monday, July 15, 2024

Portland Timbers v Nashville SC: Munthali looking to improve small margins

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 6 Jul 2024

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Nashville SC interim head coach Rumba Munthali believes his team are close to reaching their best level if they can improve the small margins against Portland Timbers.

The Coyotes have lost their last two matches against Inter Miami and Columbus Crew on the back of a three-match unbeaten streak in MLS.

They sit seventh in the Eastern Conference, but Munthali is keen to get back to winning ways quickly to hold off the teams below them in the table.

“It was a tough-to-swallow loss against a good team [Columbus] but I thought we showed some good positive steps,” Munthali said.

“I don’t think we’re far off, it’s just small little details. There are things we still have time to get better at and make sure we finish as close as possible.

“I think we need to keep working on our finishing in practice. We are scoring goals, just not all the time, and we’re only off by small margins. Nothing to dwell on, just things to work on and get more efficient at.”

Nashville announced earlier this week they have hired B.J. Callahan to become their new head coach, and will officially join them on July 22.

Meanwhile, Portland are sixth in the Western Conference, after their seven-match unbeaten streak was snapped in a 3-2 defeat to FC Dallas on Thursday.

Head coach Phil Neville was left frustrated by some of the refereeing decisions in that match and is hoping they can quickly put that result behind them.

“We’ve got to lick our wounds and move on to Sunday,” Neville said. “Sunday’s becoming a difficult game, an even bigger one at home.

“We’ve been on a great run, but the last game was disappointing, and we’ll have to begin a new one on Sunday. We move on and we keep going.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Portland Timbers – Antony

Antony scored one and assisted one in Portland’s last game, but it was not enough as the team fell to a 3-2 loss against Dallas.

It marked the eighth time this season they have failed to win a match in which they have scored multiple goals, something only Philadelphia Union (10 times) have done more often this season.

Nashville SC – Hany Mukhtar

Nashville SC attempted eight shots in their defeat at Columbus Crew on Wednesday, the 10th time this season they have taken fewer than 10 shots in a match.

Hany Mukhtar was their biggest threat once more, as he had three of those, the most of anyone on the team, though he only managed one on target.

MATCH PREDICTION: PORTLAND TIMBERS WIN

The Timbers have never lost to Nashville, recording a win in the first-ever meeting between the sides before the last two matches ended in draws.

Portland are unbeaten in their last five home games (won four, drawn one), scoring at least two goals in all five matches. The Timbers have not scored multiple goals in six straight games at Providence Park in all competitions since doing so to end the 2017 regular season.

Meanwhile, Nashville have won only three of their last 19 regular-season road games (drawn seven, lost nine) dating back to last June. Nashville have to score in 11 of those 19 matches, including their 2-0 loss at Columbus on Wednesday.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Portland Timbers – 44.8%

Draw – 26.9%

Nashville SC – 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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