Hany Mukhtar did not start but nearly set up a goal for Alex Muyl in the second half as visiting Nashville SC settled for a 0-0 draw with the New York Red Bulls on Saturday night in Harrison, New Jersey.
Mukhtar was held out of the starting lineup for the second straight game due to hip tightness but entered earlier than last week's season opener against New York City FC. The reigning MVP and Golden Boot winner started the second half and nearly made an impact in the 69th minute.
After crossing midfield, Mukhtar easily moved the ball through New York's defense to Muyl. Muyl easily scored into the right of the net, but officials quickly determined he was offside and disallowed the goal without going to replay.
Mukhtar's near-assist came on a night when Nashville (1-0-1, four points) had five shots but none on target.
Nashville goalkeeper Joe Willis made three saves for his 51st career shutout to help the fourth-year franchise overcome New York holding possession for 58 percent of the match.
Shortly after Mukhtar nearly got his second assist, Willis moved slightly out of the box and used his left foot to deny Elias Maronel.
The Red Bulls (0-1-1, 1 point), who often struggled to score last season, were blanked for the second straight week. New York had eight shots but five either missed the net or got blocked.
The Red Bulls nearly scored in the 12th minute when John Tolkin encountered a slightly open right side of the net, but Willis came over to make the save. In the 24th, Nashville was unable to score when a shot off a corner kicked sailed high.
After Sean Nealis missed the net with a header in the 38th, Tolkin saw his shot sail to the right two minutes later.