Nashville SC suffers first loss of 2023 season, falls 1-0 to New England Revolution
Gustavo Bou's second-half goal on Saturday was enough for the New England Revolution to serve Nashville SC its first loss of the season, 1-0, at Gillette Stadium.
In the 52nd minute, Revolution left back DeJuan Jones played a pass that split Nashville's midfield and defensive lines, into Bou's stride. The Argentinian center forward slithered past Nashville center back Jack Maher with an inside fake, striking the ball with his left foot, which kissed the post and bounced in.
Nashville (2-1-1, 7 points) was previously 1-0-3 all-time against New England, dating back to October 2020, and had not conceded a goal this season until Saturday. The Revolution (3-1-0, 9 points) has won all three of its home games thus far.
Here are our takeaways from the game:
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Nashville's unbalanced tactics
Nashville SC coach Gary Smith said there were several positive takeaways, but explained Saturday's loss ultimately came down to his tactics.
Smith deployed Alex Muyl as an attacking wingback, assigned fullback Shaq Moore to manage forward Dylan Borrero and for fullback Dan Lovitz to handle midfielder Noel Buck joining the attack. All three for Nashville played somewhat out of position, opening passing ways for Jones and Brandon Bye to penetrate, leading to Bou's goal.
"I and the group didn't work that out well enough," Smith said. "It wasn't executed well enough. And in the end, some of those regains in that pressure resulted in the opportunity for Bou. It doesn't happen very often, but it did tonight, and it's costed us the game."
Jan Gregus debuts
Central midfielder Jan Gregus made his Nashville debut as a substitute in the 79th minute against the Revolution. The 32-year-old Slovakian had signed a contract as a free agent just two days ago.
The former San Jose Earthquake and Minnesota United designated player made a brief, promising impression on Smith.
"I thought his distribution was good," Smith said "He kept it simple, he broke lines on numerous occasions. I think his pass completion rate was top draw. It's 15 minutes (in the game) but ongoing, I do honestly think it gives us a slightly different dimension to that midfield."
When asked about his own performance, Gregus said: "I feel strongly that I can help this group in general, on and off the ball, and we're gonna see we're gonna see how that's gonna turn out."
Absent Randall Leal not ready
Attacking midfielder Randall Leal (hamstring) missed his third straight game. After a man of the match performance in the season opener on Feb. 25 against New York City FC, Leal tweaked his hamstring in training ahead of Nashville's March 4 clash with the New York Red Bulls.
Smith said it's the same hamstring injury that Leal suffered in preseason action against the Red Bulls in January.
"I think this weekend (against FC Cincinnati) is going to be a push," Smith said about Leal's return. "He's out on the field (practicing). But there's some caution to be had … we want to be careful that we get in all of the right recovery work in place so that when he does come back, we don't fall foul of the same situation again."
For stories about Nashville SC or Soccer in Tennessee, contact Drake Hills at DHills@gannett.com. Follow Drake on Twitter at @LiveLifeDrake. Connect with Drake on Instagram at @drakehillssoccer and on Facebook.
This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Nashville SC loses 1-0 to New England Revolution with Gustavo Bou goal