There was a new energy in the South Nashville air on Sunday afternoon.
You could feel it as you walked through GEODIS Park on its debut day.
You could hear it as 30,109 Gold-clad Nashville SC supporters cheered as one for winger Randall Leal’s history-making goal.
And you could see it in the faces of the supporters as they hugged, high-fived and tossed beverages in the air.
But don’t just take our word for it.
“It’s loud here,” said Philadelphia Union head coach Jim Curtin after the match. “It’s as loud as any place we’ve ever been in.”
The 1-1 draw between Nashville and Philadelphia in the first match at GEODIS Park left an impression on those that attended or watched on television across the world. On the pitch, the Boys in Gold knew they were part of something special.
“You know it’s good when I’m trying to yell at Randall 15 feet away and he can’t hear me,” said midfielder Alex Muyl. “There’s a lot of noise, everybody gets behind it. We’re so grateful for all the fans, that they’re willing to come and support us like that. It just makes us want to fight even harder.”
No moment captured that connection between supporter and player better than Leal’s goal. In front of The Backline in the supporters section, Leal calmly fired home a penalty in the 85’ minute, sending GEODIS Park into a frenzy. The Costa Rican celebrated with an emphatic knee slide just feet from the front row of supporters.
Leal said it was a moment everyone on the team was dreaming of.
“I just scored and ran to the fans,” Leal said. “This is the moment. All the players wanted to score that goal, to score the first one for the fans and see what happens after the goal. I just scored and ran to them. It was unbelievable.”
When the smoke cleared and the final whistle blew, players saluted the fans that cheered them on for 90 heart-pounding minutes. They joined arms to sing the club’s anthem, “Never Give Up On You,” alongside the supporters and Judah and the Lion themselves on the band stage above them.
It was a moment that created memories for everyone involved. And made it very clear that GEODIS Park is going to be a tough place for opponents to play.
“The crowd was magnificent,” Head Coach Gary Smith said. “I think the guys realized from the very first moment they walked out for warmups that there was going to be a wonderful recognition of the guys being back home in this new stadium. It really felt today like the acoustics were brilliant as well. It was incredible just enveloping noise when things went well.”