Nashville remembers how to score, RSL and Dallas struggle, and more: Starting Lineup, October 15
by Jason Longshore
1- There were 3 MLS games last night, but only one in the Eastern Conference and it was the only one win that had a winner. Nashville found their scoring touch, jumping out to a 3-0 halftime lead over the visiting New England Revolution before allowing them back into the game in the second half and holding on for a 3-2 win. Going into Decision Day, now Nashville could climb over Atlanta United into 6th place. Fifth, sixth, and seventh are all in place for Atlanta at this point and they have the possibility of facing either Orlando, Philadelphia, Columbus, or New England in the first round.
Sam Surridge scored his first two goals in MLS play for Nashville in last night's match, Tomás Chancalay scored both of New England's second half goals.
2- New England interim manager Clint Peay said this after the match:
“I think the best lineup is still to be determined, to be honest with you. We still have some guys who are still trying to get match minutes, [Henry] Kessler, [Gustavo] Bou, and we’re still trying to figure out which guys are going to show up and commit to playing the game the way it’s supposed to be played for 90-plus minutes.”
He was missing DeJuan Jones and is still working guys back in from injury, but that last line has to give you some pause if you're a Revs fan.
3- The other two games were in the Western Conference and surprisingly saw teams eliminated from the postseason hold teams jockeying for position to draws. Colorado outplayed Dallas in large portions of their match in Frisco before it ended 1-1. Alan Velasco scored another spectacular goal for Dallas. RSL gave up two goals in the first 34 minutes on the road in LA to the Galaxy before coming back to rescue a point. RSL still can finish anywhere from third to sixth, while Dallas is not assured of even being in the postseason as seventh through eleventh are in play for them.
4- A good thirty minutes or so was undone by a poor thirty minutes on either side of halftime as the USMNT lost an international friendly in Connecticut 3-1 to Germany. Gregg Berhalter said this about his defense after the match:
"It's really these fine moments, these split seconds where you need to be well-positioned, not open up any gaps in your backline, and that's where it went wrong."
He went on to say, "It's also about controlling the tempo of the game, and that's what we really need to learn" Berhalter said. "And we cost so much energy also with our own counterattacks that then it's hard to really stay consistent in all of your actions, your defensive shape." That part is so critical and I know it will get lost in the shouting and gesticulating from the Twitter/X brigade. As good as the team was in the first half hour, they were flying forward every chance they had. When you don't convert those opportunities, the energy you expend in those moments can come back to hurt you.
The best teams manage tempo well. The USMNT isn't there yet, but it takes time to go from a team that purely sits back and then counters to a team that controls games. Control is not just putting goals on the board, control is limiting the ways the opponent can hurt you. That has to be a goal of Berhalter's over the next few camps going into next summer's Copa America.
5- Don't waste your time trying to figure out the subset of the online USMNT crowd who is intensely negative about players from MLS. Anyone who is basing a lineup on where that player plays their club games is missing the point. The manager will pick the best players, period. If the best player for that given match is playing for Atlanta or Nashville or Dallas, so be it. The anti-MLS segment of the USMNT fanbase is a true waste of time.
6- Chucky Lozano and Uriel Antuna led Mexico to a 2-0 win over Ghana in Charlotte last night. El Tri will get their chance at Germany on Tuesday night, while the USMNT will face Ghana in Nashville.
7- France, Portugal, and Belgium have all booked their place in Euro 2024. Kylian Mbappe scored a wonder goal for Les Bleus as part of his brace against the Netherlands. Cristiano Ronaldo also had a brace for Portugal against Slovakia. Belgium got another goal from Romelu Lukaku and held on with 10-men to defeat Austria 3-2 to ensure qualification.
Giorgos Giakoumakis' goal for Greece moved them into second in their group, ahead of the defeated Netherlands.
8- Beth Mead is set to return for Arsenal in the Women's Super League, possibly today, and could be back in the England lineup for their next set of matches. Mead tore her ACL in November 2022, which caused her to miss the Women's World Cup this past summer. She won the Golden Boot at the 2022 Euros and was second in the Ballon d'Or voting to Spain's Alexia Putellas.
9- Inter Miami will travel to China for two international friendlies next month. They will play matches against Chinese Super League teams Qingdao Hainiu and Chengdu Rongcheng on 5 and 8 November, respectively. While obviously these will be lucrative with Lionel Messi in the squad, they will also start as early preparation for the Herons' maiden voyage in the Concacaf Champions Cup next year as the Leagues Cup holders.
10- On this date in 2008, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Dan Chapman wrote about Arthur Blank's official MLS expansion bid that was submitted. Comments weren't given about possible stadium locations, but it was written that Cobb and to a lesser extent Gwinnett were seen as front runners. The conversation around Cobb mostly centered on a potential partnership with Kennesaw State University and land that had been acquired by the school (which later ended up becoming Fifth Third Bank Stadium in a partnership with the revived Atlanta Beat a few months later). The price tag for expansion in this round of bidding was reportedly $40 million.
11- It took over four years for this song to make its way to #1 on the Billboard charts, but UB40's cover of "Red Red Wine" finally reached the top spot on this day in 1988. The band didn't know it was a Neil Diamond song originally, singer Ali Campbell says that they always knew it as a reggae song and had no idea Diamond wrote it. Enjoy your Song of the Day: