FC Dallas travelled to FirstBank Stadium to take on Nashville SC in the Round of 32 of the 2023 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup and it was the hosts that booked their place in the next round of the competition after two goals and a good defensive showing made sure Dallas had no chance of coming back into the match.
A crowd of 5,196 saw Nashville book their place into the Round of 16 for the second time in their club’s history after making it to the Quarterfinals in the 2022 season. A disappointing Dallas side exited the competition in the Round of 32 for the second year in a row and will be looking to bounce back before their rivalry matchup against Austin FC at the weekend.
The first half saw little to no action as each side had one shot but neither were on target. Nashville controlled the majority of the possession as they tried to counter Dallas’ high press and build out of the back. Nashville saw 54% of the ball throughout the first half as FC Dallas had no cohesion when pressing forward against a strong back line of Nashville.
The second half began just how the first had ended with possession from Nashville and constant pressure from Dallas. Both sides exchanged harsh tackles and picked up numerous fouls but referee Lukasz Szpala didn’t believe these tackles warranted a yellow card.
The first chance of the second half came from Dallas after Ema Twumasi slid a ball through Nashville’s back line into Jesus Ferreira who blasted a shot into a Nashville defender winning a corner for the away side. The pressure continued as Ferreira sent in a corner that met the Brazilian right back Geovane Jesus’ head as he redirected the ball straight into Elliot Panicco.
Nashville responded immediately to the pressure that Dallas had begun to bring and decided to take this tie into their own hands in the 63rd minute. Fafa Picualt was played a ball on the left flank and pressed towards the Dallas goal before cutting inside and placing a shot directly into the bottom right corner of the net. Jimmy Mauer could only attempt to save it as he was let down by poor defending from his back line.
The momentum had shifted completely in Nashville’s favor and they were looking for more. They thought that they had secured a 2-0 lead in the 76th minute when the ball bounced around in the six yard box and eventually found its way in, but the assistant referee ruled the goal out for offsides.
FC Dallas, a two-time winner of the competition, were given a lifeline but it did not last long before Nashville scored another to end the tie. A poor attempt to clear the ball ended with Alex Muyl receiving the ball on the edge of the box and with some skill and precision, he curled the ball into the net leaving Jimmy Mauer helpless yet again.
FC Dallas attempted to string attacks together with nothing going in their favor. Nashville secured their safe passage into the next round of the competition and remain undefeated at home (7-0-1, 1-0 PKs) in their club’s Open Cup history. For FC Dallas, it will likely be a long flight home after the club’s first one-and-done US Open Cup since 2012.