The countdown has reached its final stages.
Nashville SC kicks off its 2022 season in just 10 days with a road clash against Seattle Sounders FC. In the waning days of preseason camp, Head Coach Gary Smith is putting the finishing touches on preparations for the 34-match regular season slate.
Here’s the latest from Florida as preseason concludes:
Mentality Matters – After two years of success in Major League Soccer, the Boys in Gold face a new challenge: maintaining that form in 2022.
Smith explained exactly what it will take to sustain a winning mentality into year three in MLS.
“There are always lessons to be learned, but in two years of this organization, we've slowly but surely improved,” Smith said. “And I have no reason to suspect that that won't be the case this year. One thing is for sure: If you attack every weekend as if it's your last, then you'll get something out of it. The times that you take things for granted and you take winning for granted, and you think you’re better than you are, and you get a bit complacent, guaranteed that your form dips. That is a reality of not just this sport, I would imagine of most. Having been around and built this team here that’s functioning in a very positive way, the players’ challenge this year is to maintain that sort of focus and desire that they've shown in the last two. That's not easy.”
Finishing Strong – As preseason winds down, Smith was asked to take stock of his group and the preparations for the season.
He touted the physical and mental readiness of the team, as well as the cohesion of the players on the pitch within the system.
“I think the things that I'd be most comfortable and happy about at this point in the preseason would be the physical well-being of the group in general,” Smith said. “I think the guys are in a good place and they're moving towards the opening fixture mentally and physically in a good spot. As a player, it's not just about the position you're in physically. The confidence comes from that. If you're not fit and strong, then the confidence in your own place starts to diminish a little bit. I'm pretty confident and pleased with the way that that's gone.
“I'm happy with some of the attacking possessional management of the ball aspects of the game that we did a pretty good job today of exploiting some areas of [FC] Cincinnati, especially down those flank areas. I think there's been some nice progression there for all the guys that have played as a wingback. And the connection that they're now getting with those attacking trio of players, whoever they are, I think that understanding has moved forward.”
Godoy Going Home – The excitement for Nashville SC’s new stadium is palpable, even in the locker room.
Midfielder Aníbal Godoy, who saw his contract extended this offseason, says he’s excited to finally take the pitch in the largest soccer-specific stadium in the country.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment,” Godoy said. “This is why I was so excited to stay here for three more years, because I want to feel this feeling in this stadium. The people in Nashville have been waiting for this moment also. They like soccer more now; they follow us. They support us. This is good for us, because if we take something away in the first eight [road] games for sure, we will go with big energy into the first game in the new stadium.”
The 2022 season kicks off in Seattle on Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. CT. Come on N and be a part of history this season as Nashville SC opens its brand-new stadium on May 1. Click here to get your season tickets.