NASHVILLE, TN - After coming back to win for two consecutive weeks, Nashville SC dropped points at home to Ottawa Fury FC, drawing 3-3 in a match that saw the lead change hands three times.
For just the second time this season, head coach Gary Smith sent out an unchanged team, sticking with the same 3-4-1-2 shape he's used in recent weeks.
It was a bright start for the Boys In Gold, who got off to an early lead through Daniel Rios. The club's leading scorer got free in the box to tap in a cross from Lebo Moloto for his 10th goal of the year. Nashville kept the pressure on Ottawa, creating several good scoring chances. Ropapa Mensah had multiple looks on goal, including rattling the bar from a header before hitting the rebound off the post.
However, it was Ottawa who found the net next, scoring just before the break through captain Carl Haworth. The right back placed his free kick well, beating an outstretched Matt Pickens at the near post to send the game into the break on level terms.
Nashville came out of the half aggressively, bringing on Bradley Bourgeois for Liam Doyle and possessing the ball well in Ottawa's half. However, Ottawa pulled ahead against the run of play, with Christiano Francois ripping a shot from 25 yards off the fingertips of Pickens.
It was the third time in as many matches that the Boys In Gold had gone behind, and once again they found an equalizer. Ropapa Mensah rose above the defense to get on the end of a Justin Davis free-kick, and the in-form striker made no mistake with the finish.
Mensah left the game in the 70th minute, replaced by Cameron Lancaster. The 2018 Golden Boot winner got involved immediately, scoring with his first touch of the match to put the home team ahead.
It looked like Nashville would come back yet again to secure all three points, but Ottawa once again pulled level. Wal Fall took a shot from distance that bounced past Pickens for their third of the match, securing a point for Ottawa.
After two victories on the road, it was a disappointing return to home for Nashville, who have taken just one point from three home matches against teams in playoff position. The draw drops Nashville to fourth place in the East. The Boys In Gold return to action on Wednesday night, taking on third placed New York Red Bulls II at First Tennessee Park.