NASHVILLE – After four months of offseason and six preseason friendlies, Nashville Soccer Club will take the field in its first competitive soccer game since October of 2018, and this time it will be in front of the home fans at First Tennessee Park. Nashville SC will face USL Championship expansion team Loudoun United FC on Saturday night at 7 p.m. Tickets are still available to the match here.
Loudoun United is a mystery wrapped in an enigma. The expansion club, the second team for DC United of MLS, has only officially signed 13 players to its USL roster and has played two closer-door scrimmages this preseason (both reported to be wins for Loudoun). Due to their status as a MLS 2 team, Loudoun will receive players on loan from both DC United and its academy, filling out its roster. DC United has announced that three players will be loaned to Loudoun from its MLS roster, none of which appeared in DC’s gameday lineup last weekend in its MLS season opener. While Loudoun might not have a well-known roster, it did sign Kyle Murphy, a three-year veteran of USL. Murphy has scored 11 goals and has 3 assists in 71 career USL appearances.
Loudoun announced its head coach, Richie Williams, a former player for DC United, at the end of January. Williams had a storied playing career, helping DC win three MLS Cup titles and making 20 appearances for the U.S. Men’s National Team. He also spent a portion of his career as a player in the USISL (now USL Championship) with the Richmond Kickers. He was a part of the Richmond team that won the U.S. Open Cup in 1995. Williams will now have to draw on that experience as a coach in the increasingly competitive USL Championship.
Coming off a USL Championship playoff appearance in its inaugural season, Nashville SC seems poised to make a jump in year two of the franchise. GM Mike Jacobs and head coach Gary Smith plucked numerous All-League players off other USL Championship rosters to strengthen and deepen the lineup for Nashville’s USL Championship swan song. MLS signees Daniel Ríos and Cameron Lancaster along with USL acquisitions Kharlton Belmar, Darnell King, Ken Tribbett, and Connor Sparrow all add to an already strong returning core of players. Nashville SC has been mentioned among the USL’s elite teams in 2019 and will have the first chance to prove itself on Saturday.
Unlike last season, Nashville will get to open its 2019 season at home. A year ago, Nashville SC was forced to travel to the home of the defending USL Cup champions, Louisville City FC and was beat 2-0 by the champs. Now, Nashville gets the benefit of opening up at home in front of its supporters. Nashville was had results in 12 of its 15 games at First Tennessee Park last season (8-3-4), utilizing its home field advantage at FTP to secure 28 of its 49 points standings points.
Head Coach Gary Smith
“I think we are all looking forward to the first game - big kickoff, new season. Preseason is a long stretch of what you would class as a lot of non-competitive games, and you don’t know how players will react. We are in a good place. There are still some new pieces of our group that will take time to settle in, but I am confident and comfortable with how our team is.”
How to Follow
Tickets are still available for the game at NashvilleSC.com/tickets. The game will be broadcast on TV locally on MyTV30 and on the radio in Spanish on El Jefe 96.7. Fans outside of the Nashville area will be able to watch the game digitally on ESPN+. In game updates and highlights can be found throughout the game on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook @NashvilleSC.