Zimmerman-Chiellini

Geodis Park was the center of the MLS universe on Sunday night. With all eyes on Nashville, NSC continued a troubling trend in a 2-1 loss to LAFC. 

Although both clubs sit among the top-five in the Western Conference standings, and LAFC has a league-leading 42 points, the matchup was highly anticipated for other reasons.

International stars Gareth Bale and Giorgio Chiellini made their MLS debuts for LAFC. The high profile summer signings played 18 and 60 minutes, respectively, as Chiellini started at centerback in his first outing with the club and Bale came off the bench in the second half.

“There’s no doubt that they’re a really talented team," Nashville SC centerback Walker Zimmerman said. "Top to bottom through their roster they have quality individuals, a lot of depth, a lot of dangerous options. We know that; we knew that coming into the game.

"We felt very prepared with how we were going to play, how we were going to defend, how we were going to attack. Again, I felt like we had some chances there. It felt like a pretty even game to be honest." 

After a multi-season spanning 25 game home unbeaten streak, at both Nissan Stadium and Geodis Park, Sunday night's loss was the second in the last four home games for NSC. 

In the last eight games, NSC has scored more than one goal twice and more than two goals just once. If it weren't for Hany Mukhtar slotting home a penalty in the 43rd minute, the club would have gone scoreless for the fifth time this season. 

"When you’re playing against good sides, you’ve got to try and limit the clarity of their chances and whilst also doing your very utmost to try and pry those opportunities open for yourself," Nashville SC head coach Gary Smith said.

"They’ve added high-caliber players to an already high-caliber group, and I’m delighted with the way the guys have gone about their business, third game in a week. But to your point again, when you’re not going to see many moments, you’ve got to take advantage of them.”

The goals by Cristian Arango in the 27th minute and Jose Cifuentes in the 46th minute certainly weren't shining moments, but the defense continues to be the bedrock of the club - as evidenced by the further reinforcing of the backline with the signing of USMNT defender Shaq Moore on Monday. 

After a busy start to the month, NSC only has two games remaining in July - at FC Cincinnati and at home vs the Vancouver Whitecaps. With fresh legs, it will be an opportunity for the club to get the offense back on track.