The Boys in Gold face an MLS Western Conference opponent to kick off their 2023 Leagues Cup campaign.
Following the MLS All-Star break in D.C., Major League Soccer has turned its focus towards Leagues Cup, the inter-league competition that features every MLS and Liga MX club in a knockout style tournament from July 1- Aug. 19. Nashville SC’s journey in the tournament begins with a matchup against the Colorado Rapids at GEODIS Park on Sunday, July 23 at 7:30 p.m. CT.
Date: Sunday, July 23
Time: 7:30 p.m. CT
Location: GEODIS Park (Nashville, Tenn.)
New competition, new opponents – Leagues Cup is creating a bridge between MLS teams and Liga MX teams to compete against each other, often for the very first time. The competition has the potential to create rarely seen MLS matchups as well.
“I just think in general, we’re going to see two very different teams here in the group stage,” said head coach Gary Smith. “We ran into Colorado last year, and there was a reasonable understanding of what they were about. We haven’t seen a lot of them on the field and in a competitive sense. We can look at footage, we can try and study how they play, what they’re trying to achieve, but the bottom line is, nothing really replicates running into teams, and the emotions and the feelings you get out on the field.”
New competition, new opportunities – Leagues Cup offers more than just a trophy at the end of the tournament for both the players and coaches.
"Obviously, [it’s a] little bit new for everyone,” said defender Shaq Moore. “It’s another competition to compete, another opportunity to go out there and get minutes for guys who don’t have as much, and another opportunity to get a trophy, so we’re looking forward to and we’re going to compete to the match, and hopefully we can get as far as we can.”
Call ups from Huntsville – Heading into the Leagues Cup window, the club announced that five players would be called up to the first team squad. Those players are Joey Skinner, Joey DeZart, Isaiah Johnston, Azaad Liadi, and Ben Martino.
“At this point in time, I’m just utilizing the group that you’ve seen, the players that have predominantly featured,” Smith said. “There are some players who have been registered from Huntsville. I think at this point, we’ll be looking at utilizing those players, but who knows. If we move forward, and there’s that opportunity, I’m sure it’d be a great experience for those guys."