Hours before Nashville SC's 2-1 loss the Houston Dynamo at Geodis Park on Sunday, the club learned it was postseason bound.
Thanks to LAFC’s 2-1 win over Portland on Sunday, NSC will play in the MLS Cup Playoffs for the third consecutive season, joining Atlanta United, LAFC and the Seattle Sounders as the only teams to clinch playoff berths in its first three seasons in MLS in the expansion era.
“Being able to advance to the playoffs for a third consecutive year is something we are all so proud of, and know it puts our club in exclusive company,” Nashville SC general manager Mike Jacobs said in a release. “The players and staff have worked so hard to put our club in this position and can now press along with trying to achieve the best seed possible as we prepare for the postseason.”
Added NSC defender Dan Lovtiz: “An incredibly positive stat that any team coming into the league would be very proud about, and certainly we are. Obviously, the actual clinching moment was not on the field with us, so the taste of it is a little bit sour by what we were in control of tonight and the ramifications for our standing moving forward. I’m sure a lot of people can recognize the difficulty of coming into the league and being three years into it and three years of qualifying for the playoffs. I think it’s spectacular.”
Nashville SC reached the conference semifinals each of its first two seasons — both in the Eastern Conference — falling to eventual MLS Cup champion Columbus Crew in 2020 and the No. 2-seeded Philadelphia Union in 2021.
Nashville, which will rejoin the Eastern Conference in 2023 after a one-season stint in the West to make room for expansion St. Louis City SC, currently sits in fifth place in the Western Conference with 12 wins, 11 draws and 11 losses — just one point ahead of Portland with one match left in the regular season.
The club began the year with eight straight road matches, compiling a 3-2-3 record and 11 points. The 1.38 points per match the team averaged was also the most in MLS history of any team starting the year with eight or more consecutive matches on the road.
Nashville SC closes out the regular season at Banc of California Stadium against LAFC on Oct. 9.
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