MLS: Tyler Boyd’s early goal lifts Nashville over NYCFC

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Tyler Boyd’s goal in the 23rd minute was more than enough for homestanding Nashville SC in a 1-0 victory over offense-challenged New York City FC on Saturday in an Eastern Conference clash.

The Gold and Blue (6-5-8, 26 points) moved from eighth to seventh in the East standings with the win, their second straight after a two-game winless streak. Nashville goalkeeper Joe Willis had the easiest of games as his team’s last line of defense, never even facing a shot on goal while earning his sixth clean sheet of the season and fourth in Nashville’s past six games.

New York City FC (9-8-2, 29 points) dropped its third consecutive match after a season-best five-game winning streak and were held scoreless for the second straight game. The Boys in Blue fell to sixth place in the East with its second straight road setback.

NYCFC dominated the match’s statistics, forging advantages in possession percentage (54.4 percent to 45.6 percent), total passes (533-378), shots (15-8), blocked shots (10-2), corners (5-3), crosses (8-5) and passing accuracy (89.7 percent to 85.2 percent). But the only stat that counted in the end was the goal scored by Boyd on one of just three shots on target for the home side.

Nashville set the tone early in the match, pressing the attack as Sam Surridge ripped a shot off the crossbar in the 13th minute and Hany Mukhtar followed with a scoring chance two minutes later that was saved by NYCFC keeper Matt Freese.

The Gold and Blue broke through in the 23rd minute when Boyd headed home a crossing pass from Surridge and found the upper-right corner of the net. Surridge outfought NYCFC defender Mitja Ilenic to get to near the end line before directing his pass across the goalmouth to the waiting Boyd.

Nashville had a chance to add to the lead in the 71st minute but Surridge’s shot from outside the box was knocked away by Freese. NYCFC countered with threats into the offensive zone but both Santiago Rodr√≠guez and Kevin O’Toole missed to the left and right, respectively, in the 73rd and 75th minutes on low-percentage shots.

–Field Level Media

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