Nashville SC returns to action in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday night with a road matchup in the Round of 16 against USL Championship side Louisville City FC.
In their last outing in the competition on May 11, the Boys in Gold took down Atlanta United 3-2 in extra time in the Round of 32. Forward Ethan Zubak scored the match-winning goal in extra time.
On its 107th edition, the Open Cup is the oldest ongoing national soccer competition in the United States and the world's third-longest continuously run national cup tournament. The historic tournament is conducted on a single-match, knockout basis and open to all professional and amateur teams affiliated with U.S. Soccer.
Nashville SC sits one win away from the quarterfinals. Standing in the way is Louisville City FC, the second-place club in the second-division USL Championship’s Eastern Conference. In addition to silverware, winners of the 2022 Open Cup will receive a place in the 2023 Concacaf Champions League and $300,000.
Here’s everything you need to know about Wednesday’s win-or-go-home clash:
Date: Wednesday, May 25
Time: 6:00 p.m. CT
Location: Lynn Family Stadium (Louisville, Ky.)
*There are no blackout restrictions on ESPN+ for this match. Fans across the country will be able to stream on ESPN+. The match will not be streamed on NashvilleSC.com._
Up for the Cup – Nashville SC is one of 16 remaining clubs in the 2022 U.S. Open Cup, and one of 13 Major League Soccer clubs left.
Head Coach Gary Smith says his team will be going into Wednesday’s match looking for a win and a spot in the next round.
“I think I made it abundantly clear with the team and the way we went about our business in the Cup that we’re taking it seriously,” Smith said. “Both teams will be fighting tooth-and-nail to be in the next round. I’ve got to make sure that the team that goes out on the field to begin that game is capable of winning it. I want to go through. I want to be in that next round, and it’s a great opportunity for the club and the players to go as deep as we can in this competition.”
Rest and Recover – Wednesday's match will be Nashville’s sixth match in the last three weeks. The last time the team played in the U.S. Open Cup, it had just two days of rest before facing Atlanta United.
Having last played on Saturday in MLS play, Smith says the team is grateful to have a third day off ahead of this match.
“We get an extra day,” Smith said. “I know it doesn’t sound like a lot, but when the guys get an extra day, Saturday to Wednesday, it’s a window that their bodies get a tad longer to recover. So, it’s not so bad. They’re capable of that.”
Scouting Lou City – Louisville City FC is one of the most successful clubs in USL Championship history. The club has won two USL Cups and made the playoffs in every year of its existence. Currently, the team sits in second place in the USL Championship Eastern Conference, just one point behind leaders Memphis 901 FC.
This season, Louisville is led in attack by Wilson Harris, who has eight goals across all competitions, as well as three assists in USL Championship. The former Sporting Kansas City homegrown joined the club ahead of the 2022 season.