For the first and only time in June, the Boys in Gold are back at GEODIS Park.
GEODIS Park will play host for the first ever match between Nashville SC and St. Louis CITY SC on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. CT. It’s a marquee MLS matchup between two teams that are near the top of the Eastern Conference and Western Conference respectively. Nashville has gone on an undefeated run in league play over its last nine matches (6W-0L-3D), and Saturday’s match will give the Boys in Gold an opportunity to break their own record longest unbeaten streak.
Can’t make the match? Watch on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.
Date: Saturday, June 17, 2023
Time: 7:30 p.m. CT
Location: GEODIS Park (Nashville, TN.)
Radio: 104.5 The Zone
Scouting the opposition – St. Louis went on a tear and won its first five matches when the 2023 season kicked off, leaving many around the league asking how to handle the new expansion side. With a larger sample size to look at now halfway through the season, the Boys in Gold have a blueprint to contain St. Louis.
“They play with a lot of energy,” goalkeeper and St. Louis native Joe Willis said. “They press high. When they lose the ball, they counter press really well. They try to force turnovers in dangerous areas and to take advantage of that. That’s something we’ve been looking at. Something we’re going to be wary of on Saturday is knowing when to play, knowing when to go a little bit longer and try and break their press. Just making smart decisions and not playing into their game plan.”
Higher expectations for the Boys in Gold – Nashville SC has experienced relative success each year the team has been in the league. The team boasts the reigning Landon Donovan MLS MVP in Hany Mukhtar and has made the playoffs every season since joining MLS. However, making the jump to competing at the top of the league standings is not a coincidence.
“We came into this year with higher expectations for ourselves," Willis said. “We’ve been successful and made the playoffs every year of our existence so far, but that’s kind of the ground level of what we can achieve now. We’re making our standards higher. We expect to be fighting for first, second place in our conference, and in the league to be completely honest.
“I think we focus on our foundation of being strong defensively and not get away from the things that have made us successful, but then try to build on that and take the next step, because there is a next step.”
Entering MLS as an expansion team – Nashville SC knows what it’s like to enter Major League Soccer as an expansion side, having done just that in 2020.
“We’re not that far removed from being an expansion side ourselves,” said head coach Gary Smith. “Everyone forgets about that. Those feelings are still there of what that first year feels like. I think they’re [St. Louis CITY SC] doing an incredible job. There were teams, I’m sure, that played against us three and a half years ago that took us lightly because we’re an expansion side.”