Nashville SC could not have asked for a better playoff debut.
A Randall Leal golazo and Hany Mukhtar's penalty gave the hosts a two-goal advantage inside of 25 minutes, and there was no looking back as Nashville topped fellow expansion side Inter Miami 3-0 on Friday evening.
Nashville boss Gary Smith will be delighted how his side started the match on the front foot against an undermanned Inter Miami.
Leal opened the scoring in the 14th minute with a thunderous strike from 30 yards after the Costa Rican international was allowed to jog into the final third under zero pressure before thumping a right-footed strike into the top corner.
Mukhtar made it 2-0 from the penalty spot 10 minutes later when shot-stopper John McCarthy was ruled to have made contact with the Berlin-born playmaker inside the area.
Tabbed as a defense-oriented side that profits from set pieces for the brunt of its maiden campaign, Nashville instead looked a promising attacking outfit capable of surging forward in numbers Friday.
Inter Miami gaffer Diego Alonso was without Gonzalo Higuain, Federico Higuain, and Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, who all missed out after failing to get medical clearance due to the coronavirus. Still, it was a lackluster showing from the expansion lot.
That was painfully apparent when Dax McCarty cemented the result a dozen minutes after the interval.
McCarty's midfield run and subsequent strike from just outside the area epitomized the gulf in effort and enterprise between the two sides on the night. There will be questions asked of several Inter Miami players, including World Cup winner Blaise Matuidi, who appeared unbothered as the veteran McCarty casually bypassed the Frenchman and darted towards goal unmarked.
With the victory in the Eastern Conference play-in game in front of an announced crowd of 3,240 at Nissan Stadium, Nashville will face Toronto FC on Tuesday at the 2017 MLS Cup champs' temporary home in East Hartford, Connecticut.