NASHVILLE – It’s finally here.
Nashville Soccer Club takes the pitch in Major League Soccer for the first time this Saturday against Atlanta United FC at Nissan Stadium. Kickoff for Nashville’s MLS debut, presented by Renasant Bank, is scheduled for 7 p.m. The match pits one of MLS’ expansion sides against one of the new powerhouses of the league.
Here’s what you need to know about Saturday’s massive match. Still need tickets? Click here.
Know Your Enemy: Atlanta United
Nashville SC’s first MLS opponent has been one of the best teams in the league since its inception in 2017. Atlanta United FC has won plenty of silverware in its three seasons of existence, including MLS Cup in 2018 and the U.S. Open Cup in 2019. The team is anchored by attacking firepower with stars such as Gonzalo “Pity” Martinez and Josef Martinez, as well as stout goalkeeping from Brad Guzan. The Five Stripes have already started part of their season with a first-round victory in the CONCACAF Champions League over Honduran side CD Motagua. In the second leg of the tie this week, Pity Martinez scored a brace and Josef Martinez pitched in with a goal as Atlanta secured their spot in the next round.
Storylines to Watch
Making History – Saturday’s match will be historic for a number of reasons. Not only will it be the first-ever match for Nashville’s own MLS team, but the crowd on hand could also set the record for the largest professional soccer crowd in Tennessee history. With over 50,000 tickets sold so far, the record of 56,232, set in 2017 for Tottenham Hotspur vs. Manchester City in Nashville, is well within reach. The match will also be nationally televised on FOX and broadcast across the globe by MLS’ international partners, so Music City and its soccer fandom will be on full display for the whole world to see.
Expect the Unexpected – This Nashville SC roster has never played a match together before, but have been working hard during training camp to build chemistry and develop bonds on the pitch. It will be a tall task in taking on the 2018 MLS Cup champions, but as MLS history demonstrates, anything can happen. Past MLS expansion clubs have had a mixed bag of results in their opening matches. Expansion clubs that have had strong first seasons (like Atlanta United FC) lost their first match, while clubs that struggled through their first season (like FC Cincinnati) won their first home match. You never know what can happen when a brand-new, confident squad steps onto their home pitch for the first time.
A Rivalry in the Making – This will be the only meeting between Nashville and Atlanta this season, but it could be the beginnings of a southern soccer rivalry that will last for years to come. Atlanta United FC is the closest club to Nashville SC geographically, and the 250-mile trip from Atlanta will be the closest road trip the Five Stripes have ever had. The proximity will create a natural rivalry, but the action on the pitch on Saturday could set the tone for a competitive rivalry that lasts.