Coming off of three straight results at home, Nashville SC is set to host Southeastern foe Atlanta United FC at Nissan Stadium this Thursday night.
The Boys in Gold kicked off the Fourth of July holiday weekend with a firework show of their own, taking down defending Supporters’ Shield champions Philadelphia Union 1-0 last Saturday night. Now, they’ll take on Atlanta for the second time this season as they look to extend their nine-match overall home unbeaten streak.
In addition, new Designated Player signing Aké Loba will be officially introduced to Nashville SC fans prior to kickoff on Thursday night in his first public appearance since joining the club from Liga MX's CF Monterrey.
Here’s everything you need to know about Thursday’s match:
Date: Thursday, July 8
Time: 7:30 p.m. CT
Location: Nissan Stadium
Tickets: Click Here
English Radio: ESPN 94.9
Spanish Radio: El Jefe 96.7
Fort Nissan - Nashville SC remains unbeaten at home this season through eight home matches. Last Saturday, the Boys in Gold jumped out to an early edge with a second-minute goal from forward CJ Sapong.
Head Coach Gary Smith says he wants to see his team continue to harness its home field advantage to start matches on the right note.
“Given our home form, the way the guys have applied themselves in front of our home crowd -- we need to use that energy, we need to use that confidence and make sure we’re on the front foot and we take the game to Atlanta,” Smith said. “It’s a tough game. When you look at it on the schedule, it’s always going to be one of those fixtures that are inspiring as you see it and as you work towards it. But, we’re in a good shape, and we’re looking forward to Thursday given how our form has been.”
Adaptable and Adjustable – Nashville SC changed up its personnel and formation once again on Saturday night against Philadelphia, utilizing three center backs and pushing outside backs Dan Lovitz and Alistair Johnston further up the pitch.
That formation adjustment paid dividends as Nashville capitalized on scoring the second fastest goal in their young MLS history.
“We’re very keen to get ourselves in front and all of those things came together on the night,” Smith said. “And that’s testimony to the players and their work load, and the information they took on board. It really is, any system is really down to the individuals who apply themselves and try to carry out that plan. You can be as intricate as you want to be with a plan or a system, but if the players don’t apply themselves, it’s a waste of time. It’s down to the players.”
Time to Shine - Defenders Walker Zimmerman (USA) and Alistair Johnston (CAN), as well as midfielder Aníbal Godoy (PAN), have all joined their national teams for the upcoming Concacaf Gold Cup.
That means a number of other Nashville SC players will get ample opportunities to shine, including defender Jack Maher, who was recalled from his loan to San Diego Loyal SC last month.
Maher says he has confidence in himself and the rest of the squad to fill in the gaps left by Nashville’s three representatives at the Gold Cup.
“I think the chemistry has been going really well,” Maher said. “I think whoever ends up getting the opportunity to play in the back with us will step in and do a really good job. Going back to the camaraderie and the sheer talent level of this group, regardless of whoever gets the start with us, I know they’ll be ready and at the end of the day they’ll get the job done.”