NASHVILLE – Nashville SC’s summer schedule is chock-full of games, with no fewer than five every month from May to September. However, in a three-week stretch from April 15 to May 5, Nashville newest professional franchise only plays a solitary midweek road game, a 0-0 draw last Tuesday night against Penn FC. It’s a scheduling quirk that is tough to explain, but it gives the coaches and players a chance to reflect on the early portion of the club’s inaugural season and assess the team.
“With only one game in the space of three weeks, the focus has been to evaluate areas in our performance that require more attention and to continue to develop areas that have shown very positive signs in these opening six games,” said Nashville SC head coach Gary Smith. “We are also very aware, that with such a tough schedule away from home and [U.S.] Open Cup just around the corner, recovery and physical conditioning will be influential in dealing with our next run of games.”
Depending on the U.S. Open Cup, which begins May 16 for Nashville SC, the team could theoretically have five games between May 13 and May 30. The current bye week will be critical to getting the players’ batteries recharged, but is also important for the technical staff.
“There is constant discussion amongst the technical staff regarding the development path of the team,” said Smith. “Six games into the season you certainly start to see a few trends with in a group, however with a brand-new team we still have little history and experiences to draw on when trying to compare form. I do believe we have made a solid start to our season with great potential to improve as this campaign unfolds.”
At the six-game mark, Nashville SC is 2-2-2 and understandably sits in the middle of the pack in the USL Eastern Conference. Four of the six games have been on the road, and one of the two home games came at a different venue, Nissan Stadium. In Nashville’s one home game on First Tennessee Park soil, the club had its best game of the season, a 2-0 win over then-first place Charlotte Independence.
“Both players and staff have made enormous strides in a very short space of time, on and off the field,” Smith said. “The players have already shown the spirit and passion that a Nashville team should represent, and the staff have worked tirelessly to offer the best possible guidance and support for the team and create a professional environment that breeds success. We have shown in six games that we are tough to compete with and have good craft and balance when attacking, a good foundation to push on from.”
Three of Nashville’s six games have come against the top five teams in the Eastern Conference. Even more enlightening is the fact that Nashville SC has already played five of the six stingiest defenses in the East, based on goals allowed, including the top four in Louisville City FC (2), Indy Eleven (2), Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC (2) and Penn FC (3). Right behind that group sit Nashville with just four goals allowed through six games.
“We were well aware from the outset of how organized and determined a strong contingent of the Eastern Conference would be,” Smith added. “Numerous clubs have also invested heavily in their roster, with some very talented players and good depth to the team, making most fixtures very competitive and presenting a different challenge every week. The USL is a very strong league, the one thing we won’t be doing, is taking any opponents for granted.”
Nashville will look to get a matter of revenge against Louisville City, after a season opening loss, in its next home game on May 13. Tickets to the contest are still available and start at just $15. Follow this link to be a part of one of Nashville’s premier summer outdoor events, or call our ticket office at (615) 457-8200.