Randall Leal scored twice, including the tiebreaking goal in the 76th minute, and visiting Nashville SC registered five unanswered goals to end a franchise-worst, six-match winless rut with their 6-3 victory over lowly FC Cincinnati on Wednesday night.
In the 71st minute, Nashville's Walker Zimmerman delivered a perfectly placed header off a free kick onto the foot of C.J. Sapong, who brought it home to tie the game 3-3. Five minutes later, Leal knocked his second goal of the night past Cincinnati goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer to give Nashville the lead.
Zimmerman also scored, Ake Arnaud Loba added some 80th-minute insurance and Sapong (12 goals in 2021) completed his own two-goal contest in second-half stoppage time for Nashville, which overcame deficits of 2-0 and 3-1 to halt an 0-1-5 stretch. On its way to the playoffs, Nashville (12-4-16, 52 points) totaled three goals during that winless span and was also blanked in its previous four road matches.
Nashville moved past the Philadelphia Union (13-8-11, 50 points) for second place in Major League Soccer's Eastern Conference.
Brenner converted a successful penalty shot and Brandon Vazquez scored in his third consecutive match for Cincinnati (4-20-8, 20 points), which has conceded 32 goals during its club-record, 10-match losing streak. FCC also blew a 2-0 lead while drawing 2-2 against Nashville to open the season.
Cincinnati struck six minutes into the game on what was officially recorded an own goal off Nashville's Dave Romney, via a cross with Vazquez providing some interference on the play. Eleven minutes later, Romney indirectly led to Cincinnati going up 2-0. Following a foul in the box, Brenner beat Nashville goalkeeper Joe Willis from the spot.
After VAR rewarded Cincinnati with another penalty shot in the 23rd minute, Brenner's chip attempt was easily saved by Willis.
Nashville, though, pulled one back in the 28th minute, when Zimmerman's header off a free kick bounced by Vermeer. But Cincinnati wasn't done in the first half as Vazquez burst through some shoddy Nashville defense and cranked his shot past a poorly-positioned Willis in the 32nd to make it 3-1.
However, Nashville again got within a goal, this time during first-half stoppage time. On Cincinnati's attempt to clear the box, the ball landed on the foot of Leal, who drilled a successful shot from just outside the top of the 18-yard box.