Hany Mukhtar tallies twice as Nashville SC tops Orlando City

11/23/2021 10:20:49 PM EST

Hany Mukhtar scored the first two goals for Nashville SC in a 3-1 win against visiting Orlando City in an Eastern Conference first-round MLS playoff match on Tuesday.

Third-seeded Nashville will visit the second-seeded Philadelphia Union in a conference semifinal on Sunday.

With the game tied 1-1 in the 74th minute, Mukhtar, who tied for fifth in the league with 16 goals, dribbled 30 yards to the middle of the penalty area with four defenders in pursuit, then struck a low ball past goalie Pedro Gallese.

Jhonder Cadiz scored in the fourth minute of second-half stoppage time for the final margin.

Daryl Dike put Orlando ahead in the 14th minute before Mukhtar tied it 1-1 in the 21st.

That the match was tight through 45 minutes was expected considering all three meetings this season were draws and Nashville equaled a league record with 18 ties.

It was no surprise that Orlando took the lead on Dike's header off a corner kick by Mauricio Pereyra. Dike took a step back from his defender and flicked a shot from 6 yards past goalie Joe Willis, who tied for the MLS shutout lead with 13.

Nashville conceded the first goal in eight of 17 home games but managed to become the seventh team in MLS history to have an unbeaten home regular season (8-0-9).

There was no shock either that Nashville faced an early deficit as Dike's goal marked the fifth straight match it allowed a goal in the opening 20 minutes.

The Orlando lead didn't last long after Mukhtar was the recipient of a pass from Anibal Godoy, who dispossessed Junior Urso at midfield to start the transition.

Mukhtar took a long shot that deflected off Orlando defender Antonio Carlos, causing the ball to sail over Gallese.

The other Eastern Conference semifinal will be played on Nov. 30, fourth-seeded New York City FC at the top-seeded New England Revolution.

--Field Level Media

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