The Nashville Soccer Club took the field March 24 against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds in the first United Soccer League home game. Nissan stadium hosted this late afternoon game in the midst of mist and light rain drizzle. Nashville fans were eager, purchasing over 20,000 tickets with the final attendance number coming out to 18,922. Impressive numbers for an inaugural home game considering the unfriendly weather.
The game went 90 minutes without a score from either team. That roughly translates into 90 minutes of high energy, unrelenting, aggressive play from both sides of the field. There was no shortage of shoulder charges, full body collisions, and ankle dives. No one could deny the sheer entertainment value these teams brought to the field.
Energy and tension rose as the game entered into its final minutes. Nashville had the crowd tense with anticipation as they had three corner kick opportunities. The disappointment was audible throughout the stadium as none of the shots flew inside the goal posts.
Afterwards, Vincent Ladson shared his thoughts about the game.
“Even in dreary weather, it was great to see the city come out to support our new franchise,” Ladson said. “From the opening kick to the final whistle, there was a buzz racing through the crowd that I hadn’t seen in years.”
The draw earned Nashville SC its first point of the season. The USL operates on a scoring system where a victory earns three points while a tie earns one point.
The shutout is the first recorded in Nashville SC history. Its next home match will be against Charlotte Independence at First Tennessee Park.
Twenty-seven of Nashville’s SC USL matches this season will be broadcast locally in Nashville. Fans will be able to find the games locally on WUXP MyTV30. The final score for the first game was Nashville SC 0, Pittsburgh Riverhounds 0.
“The support was terrific,” Head Coach Gary Smith said of the crowd. “All along I said that there needs to be a relationship that is built between player and fans. Today went a long way toward that. I think the players felt that there was a feeling in the crowd. They got behind us when we got on top. They tried desperately to raise the group, which was fabulous, when Matt [Pickens] was keeping the ball out of the other end. There was a great reaction. They really tried to help us out in some difficult times, and that relationship hopefully, while we go forward, will create a bond as we go back to FTP that can make a real difference and create an environment that is more successful.”