Before the fireworks light up the Nashville sky, the Nashville SC ready to light up the Nissan Stadium pitch.
The Boys in Gold are set to take on Philadelphia Union on Saturday night at 7 p.m. CT in the third of five consecutive home matches. Nashville SC are coming off a thrilling week of drama that included a stoppage-time winner over Toronto FC on Wednesday night, and a late 1-1 draw on Saturday against CF Montréal in front of 22,523 fans, the largest crowd of the season so far at Nissan Stadium.
With the reigning Supporters’ Shield winners in town during the holiday weekend, it’s sure to be another raucous and loud night on the banks of the Cumberland River.
Here’s everything you need to know about Saturday’s match:
Date: Saturday, July 3
Time: 7:00 p.m. CT
Location: Nissan Stadium
Tickets: Click Here
English Radio: ESPN 94.9
Spanish Radio: El Jefe 96.7
Keep Building – After playing three matches in eight days, Nashville SC has had the chance to catch its breath, recover and get ready to face the Union.
Head Coach Gary Smith says the team is taking full advantage of the break.
“It’s nice having that week leading into such a big game against a top side like Philly,” Smith said. “We have more preparational opportunity, guys get the ability to do some extra work and be in tip-top condition for such a big competition.”
Philly, Philly - This will be the first-ever meeting in Major League Soccer between Nashville SC and Philadelphia Union. After winning the 2020 Supporters’ Shield, the Union sits in third place in the Eastern Conference, four points ahead of Nashville in sixth place.
Smith says he has a lot of respect for what the Union has been able to build under Head Coach Jim Curtin.
“This is one of the top teams in MLS,” Smith said. “Jim’s done a terrific job with this group. It couldn’t have always been easy and I think we’re seeing the reward for an organization who supported their coach incredibly well. They’re getting young players through a wonderfully talented youth system. Jim is integrating those players at the right time with very experienced players, and the reward for that is a consistently successful team that play a style of football that is incredibly competitive, but also very exciting.”
Depth and Deception – _Last week’s positive results came as a result of Nashville SC’s depth and Smith’s tactics.
Second-year pros Luke Haakenson and Jack Maher each made a tremendous impact on last week’s matches, combining for three goals and one assist over two matches. In addition, Smith changed formations late in Saturday’s draw, putting three center backs on the pitch to push for an equalizer that came in the fourth minute of stoppage time from Abu Danladi.
With key players set to miss time due to international competition in the coming weeks, Smith says he likes having different looks and players at his disposal.
“As far as looking at different shapes and ideas, for me, it’s an opportunity to have a Plan B if the game isn’t necessarily going the way you want it to, or if injuries are such that we need to look at something slightly different,” he said. “It’s a nice opportunity to do that in this window of time. We’ve had two very good performances in the last two home games. The players have been really positive, energetic, and upbeat in their outlook. It’s always nice to have that added string to your bow.”
Click here to get your tickets to Saturday night’s match.