New on Sports Illustrated: Orlando City-Nashville Preview

August 31, 2020 at 11:30PM

Last Wednesday, five of the six matches on the MLS schedule were boycotted in awareness of continued racial and social injustice issues in the United States. The one game that did go on as planned featured Orlando City and Nashville SC.

Those two teams will meet up again at Nashville on Wednesday night.

In some circles, Orlando and Nashville took heat over not postponing their match while the rest of the league stepped aside to show awareness in the wake of the unrest and violence following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis. Both teams have claimed they were not completely aware of what was being planned or going on with the other MLS matches scheduled, considering theirs was the first game of the night.

"The timeline was just a little too crunched, and it was a little too soon for us to effectively communicate with other teams in the league about what was going to happen," Nashville midfielder Dax McCarty told the official MLS website. "Obviously, coming into the locker room, seeing the news of everything that had happened, after the game, soccer takes a backseat."

While both clubs have publicly supported the league's other teams in terms of the boycott, it's uncertain if either has any plans to do something similar going forward.

In last Wednesday's match, Orlando rookie Daryl Dike recorded a brace and Chris Mueller also scored in City's 3-1 home win.

In five MLS seasons, Orlando (4-2-2) has yet to make a playoff appearance. However, it's quite possible this might be the season that all changes. City enjoyed major success at the MLS is Back Tournament in its own backyard by reaching the championship game.

Upon the league's resumption of the regular season, Orlando lost 3-2 to expansion Inter Miami. However, it's bounced back nicely by posting back-to-back 3-1 victories over Nashville SC and Atlanta United.

"We're happy," coach Oscar Pareja told Orlando's official website. "We keep going. There's a short turnaround and we're proud of those boys, they're doing well."

Dike has drawn a lot of attention thanks to some stellar play of late. The highly touted player has totaled three goals with two assists in the three matches following the MLS is Back Tournament.

"Daryl is doing very well," Pareja told the official MLS website. "He's a young player who has absorbed all the information in the best way, and fast. He has rapidly taken responsibility, concepts and ideas of our game and implemented into his game. He's been very productive."

Nashville (2-4-1) lost its first two games upon the resumption of the regular season, but halted that rut with a 1-0 win over Inter Miami this weekend. Anibal Godoy's goal in the 53rd minute was all Nashville needed to win, but the clean sheet was a bigger deal considering it conceded five goals in losing the previous two matches.

Nashville has recorded just four goals on the season.

Mueller, meanwhile, scored his sixth goal of the year and had an assist during Orlando's win over Atlanta on Saturday.

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