NASHVILLE – Nashville Soccer Club is back. On Wednesday afternoon, Nashville SC will take the field for the first time in 2019 in a preseason scrimmage against the MLS’ Montreal Impact at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. at 3 p.m. CST. It’s a slight change from the originally scheduled night game off campus.
It should be the Nashville SC debut for many if not all of the club’s offseason signings, including the first two MLS signees, Daniel Ríos and Cameron Lancaster. The game will be the first of two for Nashville down in Florida, with a matchup against two-time defending USL Cup champions Louisville City FC on Saturday.
The Impact were one of the best MLS teams not to make the Audi MLS Cup playoffs in 2018 as they finished just outside a playoff spot in 7th in the Eastern Conference. The future MLS opposition brings back leading scorer three-time MLS All Star midfielder Ignacio Piatti for one final season. Piatti, who turned 34 on Monday, has already announced that 2019 will be his final season for Montreal, and if 2019 is like the previous four-plus seasons, he will again be the focal point of the Impact offense. He has led the Impact in scoring in each of the last three years and has 63 goals in 124 appearances for Montreal, averaging more than a goal every two games.
Piatti will have some help in the attack this season from fellow Argentine and Impact newcomer Maxi Urruti. Urruti, who signed from FC Dallas for $75,000 in allocation money in the offseason, brings eight goals and 11 assists from the 2018 season onto the Montreal roster.
Montreal has already played one preseason game, a 1-1 draw against MLS debutant FC Cincinnati at IMG Academy last week, with Piatti tallying the Impact’s lone goal.
Preseason is always more about yourself than your opponent, and that is the mentality that Nashville SC head coach Gary Smith has preached throughout the preseason. With this being the first game action against a different team, Smith will surely experiment with various personnel early in the preseason as he looks for combinations to build on.
A couple of positions to keep an eye on, due to the amount of depth at each, is forward and backline. Smith’s options abound at both. Nashville SC returners Tucker Hume and Ropapa Mensah alongside Lancaster and Ríos will be in the mix at forward while newcomers Ken Tribbett and Darnell King will add to an already stout defense that returns all of its core pieces.
Nashville is unbeaten on IMG’s campus, drawing both contests last year, 0-0 to Chicago Fire of MLS and 1-1 to Ottawa Fury of USL. Then rookie Alan Winn provided the lone goal of Nashville’s two contests last year, a penalty won by Hume in the first three minutes against Ottawa. It was the defense that shined in sunny Florida last year as it held the Fire to a clean sheet and allowed the one goal against the Fury.
How to Follow
The game will not be streamed online, but fans can follow @NashvilleSC on social media for live updates and visual content throughout the game.