Nashville beat Monterrey to book Leagues Cup final vs. Messi


Fafá Picault scores to put icing on cake for Nashville

Fafá Picault's goal all but claims victory for Nashville and books their ticket to the Leagues Cup final.

Substitute Sam Surridge scored his third goal in as many matches to help lift Nashville SC to a 2-0 victory over visiting CF Monterrey in a Leagues Cup semifinal on Tuesday night, booking the club's first-ever spot in a major final and a meeting with Lionel Messi.

Another substitute, Fafa Picault, put the game away with a strike deep into second-half stoppage time.

Earlier on Tuesday, Messi's Inter Miami posted a 4-1 road win over the Philadelphia Union in the other semifinal.

Reigning MLS MVP Hany Mukhtar helped create the goal for Surridge, one of Nashville's additions in the summer transfer window, after he had a goal of his own disallowed in the first half following a video review.

Nashville goalkeeper Elliot Panicco made three saves to post the clean sheet.

Monterrey had won all five of its previous tournament matches in regulation and was the lone remaining Mexican team in the Leagues Cup, contested between all 47 teams from MLS and Liga MX, with all games in the United States and Canada.

Sam Surridge is congratulated by teammates after his goal.
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Monterrey will visit the Union for a third-place match on Saturday, where a third berth in next year's CONCACAF Champions Cup will be at stake. However, CF Monterrey have already earned a spot via their domestic league play.

In a game with chances at both ends, Surridge put Nashville in front in the 67th minute on an attack created by Walker Zimmerman, winning a header to intercept goalkeeper Esteban Andrada's clearance.

Mukhtar got the ball in transition, pushed toward Monterrey's penalty area, then slipped a pass to his left. Surridge met it with his first touch, a low, side-footed strike that rolled quickly past Andrada and into the bottom right corner.

Monterrey pressed for an equalizer, forcing Panicco into two late excellent stops. The goalie refused to be fooled by a ferocious knuckling effort from Jordi Cortizo in the 85th minute, then reacted superbly to deny Rogelio Funes Mori's shot angling toward the bottom right corner in the 90th.

Picault then sealed the match for the hosts over an hour after he was forced on as a first-half sub for Jacob Shaffelburg, who departed with an apparent leg injury.