Nashville SC general manager Mike Jacobs has admitted he’s surprised his team don’t get more attention given the success they’ve achieved in MLS so far.
In just two seasons in the league, Nashville have made the MLS Cup Playoffs on both occasions.
2021 has been particularly successful so far, with Gary Smith’s side finishing third in the Eastern Conference, losing the lowest number of games throughout the league (4), and maintaining an unbeaten home record.
Still, Nashville are largely overlooked when it comes to MLS Cup contention and are rarely considered among the best teams in the league. It’s something that clearly puzzles Jacobs, even if it doesn’t necessarily bother him.
“I think it’s amazing that there’s not more attention given to our players and coaches, because it’s so unique what’s happening,” Jacobs told MLSsoccer.com. “But a large part of me kind of likes flying in a blind spot. It allows us to do what we’re doing in the shadows.”
If Jacobs is happy operating in the shadows, Smith is likely delighted by it. What better for a coach than having the opposition underestimate you, while the likes of MVP contender Hany Mukhtar (16 goals, 10 assists), CJ Sapong (12 goals, 4 assists), and Randall Leal (8 goals, 7 assists) get to work?
According to Smith, their upcoming Round One clash against Orlando City might well be decided by individual talent – something the Lions aren’t short of themselves with the likes of Daryl Dike and Nani around.
“One-off games are very different than the consistency of the season,” Smith said. “Yes, we have the ingredients (for playoff success), but there is a reliance on the individuals to have a good performance.
“In a one-off game, there are things that can go wrong. The referee’s choices, there are mistakes in every game and let’s not forget Orlando have match-winners in the team.”
The winner of Tuesday’s match at Nissan Stadium will face the Philadelphia Union in the Eastern Conference semi-finals.