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Orlando City-Nashville SC Preview
Orlando City coach Oscar Pareja was left frustrated by his side's defeat to New England Revolution, but took the positives heading into another tough test in the Eastern Conference.
The Revs beat Orlando 2-1 at the weekend, and the Lions will now have to regroup for a clash with Nashville SC.
Orlando sit fifth in the East, and are involved in a tight race for the playoffs, while Nashville sit second, though they are way off leaders New England.
Pareja was pleased with the character his team showed in their last match, but Orlando now need to snap a four-game losing streak.
"It is painful to say that after playing a good game we're still leaving with the disappointment of not getting a result," he said.
"We wanted to come and fight our game. The game gave us the chance to equalize and probably, after that, would (have been) much more. But we ended up with this frustration that we have to deal with.
"Players showed a lot of character and that's something that's very valuable today. You all know the responsibility of the results is carried on the coaches' shoulders and that's something that I want today, more than any other night, to happen.
"The players did a good job, they played their games and they deserved more. But we have to keep going."
Nashville were held to a goalless draw by the Chicago Fire last time out, but coach Gary Smith is pleased with the form his side have shown as of late, particularly on the road.
"Absolutely delighted (with the four-game road stretch)," Smith said. "Two wins. ... I think any team would be pleased with the performances and, certainly, the points tally. The players have maintained good standards and a very good level."
Nashville SC - Hany Mukhtar
Hany Mukhtar has been involved in a league-high 14 goals at home this season (eight goals, six assists).
Orlando City - Daryl Dike
After his start turn in the Championship during his loan spell at Barnsley earlier in 2021, Dike has kept up his form on his return to MLS and scored his fourth goal from his 10th appearance in Orlando's defeat to New England, ending a run of three games without a goal.
- Nashville and Orlando have each won once in the two meetings between the sides in Orlando, but both matches in Nashville have ended in 1-1 draws. Both teams have found the net at least once in all four encounters.
- Nashville is unbeaten in 14 home games this season (W8 D6), the only team without a home loss this season. Only one team in the last eight full seasons (excluding 2020) went a full season without a home loss: Colorado Rapids in 2016.
- Orlando's four-match losing streak is its longest since dropping nine straight games from May-July 2018. The Lions had lost just four of their first 22 games this season prior to this run (W10 D8).
- Mukhtar has been involved in at least one goal in each of his last six home games (seven goals, five assists) while team-mate C.J. Sapong is tied for the second-most home goal contributions (12) and has been involved in at least one goal in his last five at home (six goals, three assists).
- Mauricio Pereyra recorded his 10th assist of the season in Orlando's loss at New England on Saturday, tying the club record for assists in a regular season, equaling Nani's total from 2019, Yoshimar Yotun in 2018 and Kaka in 2016.
Updated September 28, 2021