2021 Major League Soccer, Regular Season
  • Daryl Dike (18')
  • Hany Mukhtar (53')

Nashville denies Orlando City clinching MLS Cup playoff place by fighting back for draw

Orlando City drops points in race for playoff soccer (1:40)

Nashville scores in the second half to cancel out Daryl Dike's goal as Orlando settles for a 1-1 draw. (1:40)

Hany Mukhtar scored his team-leading 15th goal and Nashville SC came from a goal down to earn an MLS-high 17th draw of the season, 1-1 against host Orlando City SC on Sunday.

With 12 assists to add to his goals total, Mukhtar leads the league in total scoring contributions with 27 for Nashville, who remained second in the Eastern Conference standings with a three-point edge over the Philadelphia Union and New York City FC.

Philadelphia was scheduled to play its match in hand later Sunday against FC Cincinnati, with all three teams set to conclude their seasons a week later.

Daryl Dike scored his ninth goal overall and sixth goal in eight matches for Orlando, who missed an opportunity to clinch a playoff spot by failing to notch the victory.

Andres Perea appeared to score a match-winner in second-half stoppage time for the hosts, who are now winless in their last four matches but still four points clear of the playoff line. But the goal was ruled out for Dike's foul on Alistair Johnston following a video review after Alexandre Pato's initial free kick struck the woodwork.

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Dike put Orlando in front on 18 minutes after a well-worked attack down the right.

Nani threaded a pass into the penalty area to find Chris Mueller near the byline. Muller dragged a service across the face of goal, and Dike reached it just in front of his defender to slot a first-time finish past Nashville goalkeeper Joe Willis.

Mukhtar leveled the match eight minutes after on Nashville's own attack down the right following a turnover in midfield. C.J. Sapong and Randall Leal were among the players connecting on the move before Mukhtar drove a low finish from the right side of the area between Pedro Gallese and the far right post.

Orlando had the majority of the possession and chances in the final half hour, but struggled to seriously test Willis. Its best opportunity may have come in the 77th minute, when Nani reached a Nashville turnover deep in the visitors' own end and found Junior Urso, who shot wastefully well over the goal from inside the 18-yard box.

Nani also narrowly missed from distance in the 85th minute with Willis likely beaten, before Pato struck the frame with an excellent free kick. Perea eventually reached the rebound, but only after Nani pulled down Johnston trying to make a goal-line clearance.