NASHVILLE – Tuesday morning’s devastating tornado that struck Middle Tennessee affected everyone in Nashville in some way or another, and Nashville Soccer Club was no exception.
Forwards David Accam and Daniel Ríos both suffered significant damage to their properties during Tuesday’s tornado. Both players have been unable to return to their homes, but have continued to train with their teammates ahead of this Sunday’s clash with the Portland Timbers at 6 p.m. CT on ESPN and ESPN Deportes. While the club continues its efforts to help Middle Tennessee rebuild, Accam is ready to focus on the thing he loves most: putting the ball at his feet on the pitch.
“Mentally, I’m a strong guy, so I’m just looking forward,” Accam said. “I came here to do a job and I’m just looking forward to playing the game. I’m 100% focused trying to help the team get our first win.”
During Sunday’s match, Nashville SC and the Timbers will join forces to raise funds for tornado relief by wearing a commemorative “Never Give Up On You” patch on their jerseys, which will be auctioned next week. The Timbers have also offered a special ticket deal for this match, with a portion of proceeds going towards tornado relief.
Keeping Nashville with us in Portland.— Nashville SC (@NashvilleSC) March 7, 2020
We’re teaming up with @TimbersFC to raise funds for tornado relief by wearing special “Never Give Up On You” patches on our jerseys, which will be auctioned for the @CFMT Tornado Relief Fund. #NGUOY | https://t.co/z1I19Ibbfp pic.twitter.com/G03A9td8Ug
Head Coach Gary Smith is grateful for the support the city has received from the entire MLS family.
“It’s fantastic,” Smith said. “When you look around, I know we’ve got a number of things that we’re trying to do to support the relief effort and to support anyone that’s had any difficulties around town. But that’s very kind of them. The MLS community in general is one that’s very close-knit and it’s great to see that sort of support.”
Sunday’s match will be Nashville’s first MLS road match, and it will take place in front of a raucous crowd at Providence Park in Portland. Smith has experienced the atmosphere in Portland before, and he thinks his team is ready to handle one of the most distinct home-field advantages in MLS.
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“I’ve been there a couple of times before in their early days, and it was a wonderful atmosphere,” Smith said. “A bit of a throwback to some of the top Premier League grounds in their time. Tight to the pitch, fans feel like they’re on top of the players almost on the field, sticking a leg out and having an impact on the game. I’m sure they’ll do everything they can to give their team a leg up after a difficult start. Our challenge is to try and quiet that crowd, get into the game and to show the team on the field what we’re capable of. There’s a lot of confidence in the group, I think we’ve come out of the weekend’s game feeling far more mentally equipped to deal with the emotions and the intensity and passion of MLS soccer. That will only bode well at Portland at the weekend.”
Last weekend, Nashville SC put up a strong debut effort in a defeat against Atlanta United in front of a record-breaking crowd at Nissan Stadium. With the first-match jitters behind them, the Boys in Gold now turn their attention to making history again by getting the club’s first MLS win.
“Being a new team, there’s always milestones,” goalkeeper Joe Willis said. “We had our first game and we lost, so now our next milestone is our first win. Some of the pressure is off in that we played a game and got the season started, but now there’s pressure on us to start winning and producing results.”
Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. CT on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and on the radio on ESPN 94.9 Game 2. Click here for more information on Nashville SC’s tornado relief fundraising efforts.