Nashville SC Upsets Club América In Wild Penalty Shootout

Sam Surridge. Photo: Courtesy of Nashville SC

The Leagues Cup continues to be a crazy tournament as Nashville SC defeated legendary Mexican club Club América in a wild penalty shootout 6-5 in the Round of 16 at GEODIS Park last night (Aug. 8).

This game included a Walker Zimmerman goal, a late penalty on Nashville, a debut goal from Sam Surridge and a retaken penalty in the shootout after everyone thought the game was over.

“It is very different. I wonder if when this whole idea of Leagues Cup was created, they envisioned what was going to go on tonight,” said Head Coach Gary Smith. “Now let’s be honest about the goal being pulled back as well, that Jack [Maher] was saved and the guy was off his line, and he moved too early. Now the scenes after that just created a very difficult picture to move on from. The umbrella view of all of the studies, what a fantastic game.

“The excitement the fans must have enjoyed and witnessed there is quite remarkable. With some terrific goals you add to the wonderful football. We were under pressure for good periods of that game against a tough side. So I think we showed the qualities that we’re very much renowned for, whilst also offering some good opportunities ourselves, especially early on I thought.”

Elliot Panicco. Photo: Courtesy of Nashville SC

Nashville’s newest Designated Player Surridge scored a heart-stopping equalizer late in stoppage time to level out the game at 2-2 during his Nashville SC debut. This goal came after Nashville SC conceded a penalty in the 90+3rd minute.

The penalty shootout was as intense and unpredictable as one could imagine in front of a crowd of over 24,000, most of which were fans of the visitor. Elliot Panicco was subbed in again for the shootout and made a block to level the shootout after Hany Mukhtar‘s opening penalty was blocked.

Things became uncontrollable after Maher’s penalty was initially blocked but was retaken due to a VAR check, showing rival goalkeeper Luis Malagón off his line. Maher converted, Club América missed their next shot and Dan Lovitz went on to score, securing Nashville SC’s place in the Quarterfinals.

After Maher’s blocked penalty, everyone in the stadium thought the game was over. Both clubs posted to their social media’s the final score and fans began to leave. At this point dozens of fans, mostly Club América fans, began to run on the field, delaying any type of word from the referees. Almost 10 minutes has pasted before any knew Maher’s penalty needed to be retaken.

“Honestly, I figured out that I needed to retake it pretty much when everybody else did,” said Maher in a postgame press conference. “It was one of the wildest scenes that I’ve ever seen on a soccer field with people stampeding onto the field. I just huddled up with my group and we have really good leadership, guys like Walker [Zimmerman], guys like Hany [Mukhtar], guys like Sam [Surridge] now as well that I can sort of lean on in those tough moments and they really helped me get through it.”

Surridge came off the bench in the 65th minute and overpowered a header over the net within his first 10 minutes. But it was another header which made him the hero of the night after Club América seemed to seal their fate.

“I don’t think anyone had their head down when [Club América] scored,” said Surridge. “It seems a bit unfortunate because I’m not sure about it. I still felt like I could get myself out there and score. I always do. I’ve got pep. So as soon as Dax [McCarty] put his hand up I just got in the box. I was in the right place at the right time. I am confident I will score when I get into the competition. That was part of it, but yeah, it is just trying to make things happen.”

Next up, the Boys in Gold will face Minnesota United this Friday (Aug. 11) at GEODIS Park. After the Round of 32, all host sites are decided based on 2022 MLS standings. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. CT.

Click below to watch the full postgame press conference.

Steven Boero