Nashville SC notebook: Boys in Gold looking for third-straight win

Nashville SC head coach Gary Smith says he’s never heard of St. Elmo’s Steakhouse in Indianapolis.

But while his culinary knowledge of the Hoosier state is lacking (not that there’s much of culinary scene there though, so it’s understandable), he has done his extensive research on his side’s next opposition, Indy Eleven.

“I am keeping an open mind as to what we will walk in to,” said Smith regarding how he’s preparing for the match.

“We will train on their match field on Friday and our staff will be looking forward to seeing what the field is like. Indoors, turf, those things all effect the game. We are keeping an open mind. What I do know is that Indy is a team in a similar position to us with a group of new players, and a new coach. They have a good strong core to that team, with McInerney and Pasher being dangerous.”

Opponent overview: Like Nashville, Indy Eleven is in its first season of the USL. Founded in 2013, the club has spent its first couple of years in the NASL. The Club finished second in the league in 2016, while also finishing first in average attendance in three of the four years. The high attendance has followed the Club to the USL, as it drew 17,000 fans to Lucas Oil Stadium in its first home game.

Indy’s defense has been the story of their season so far. Also like Nashville, it’s been tough for opposing teams to put any goals past them, allowing only one goal in three contests.

“We do see this match as more than likely being a tight one,” said Nashville SC goalkeeper Matt Pickens.

“Much of that has to do with being early in the season and also mirroring each other in that we are a new club playing together for only a couple of months and them having a new head coach with an overwhelming majority of new players. In that regard, I don’t envision the game being that stretched with the scoreline.”

Indy Eleven has beaten North Carolina FC and the Richmond Kickers this year, both by a score of 1-0. Its loss came against FC Cincinnati, also by the score of 1-0.

Other notes:

-Some Nashville SC players made some waves in the USL for their performances this week. Alan Winn was named to the USL team of the week. His goal against Charlotte was also named goal of the week. Pickens was nominated for USL save of the week.

-The Club is 300 season tickets away from breaking the inaugural season ticket record.

-For those streaming, the game will be on the ESPN+ streaming service as a part of the new USL streaming contract. Kickoff is slated for 11 a.m. Central, and the game can be watched locally on MyTV30.

Prediction: 1-0 Nashville Last week, I was wrong on my prediction and overestimated Charlotte. I think Nashville is starting to figure things out in the final third. Indy’s defense will be their toughest test thus far in the season, so I could also see this game ending as a 0-0 draw.

Nashville SC placed in USL’s Eastern Conference, opens up possible new rivalries

Nashville SC now has an idea of who the majority of their conference opponents might be for the upcoming 2018 USL season.

The league announced Friday which conferences the 33 teams will be placed in for this season and the foreseeable future.

Nashville SC is one of four new teams, along with ATL UTD 2, Indy Eleven, and North Carolina FC to join the Eastern Conference. Saint Louis FC has been moved to the Western Conference.

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With Nashville SC heading to the Eastern Conference, it opens up a plethora of new rivalries that could spring up as the season progresses. Let’s take a look at some of them.

FC Cincinnati: The matches between these two moving forward have the potential to be the most combustable. There’s still some bitterness from some of the FC Cincinnati faithful that Nashville was chosen as a city for an MLS expansion before them. There’s no doubt that the Cincy fans bring lots of passion and excitment, plus it’s not a far trip to make for either club. We could even see this rivalry moving forward if Cincinnati is awarded an MLS bid as well.

ATL UTD 2: Nashville will get their first taste of the Atlanta fans in a couple of weeks, when the MLS side comes to visit for the Feb 10 exibition match. Like Cincinnati, this too is not a far travel for either club. In fact, this rivalry could mean more, as it’ll be a battle to determine who is the king of soccer in the south.

Louisville City FC:  This will be Nashville SC’s shortest trip each year until Memphis arrives. Until then, the I-65 route to last year’s USL champions will certainly be one both support groups will make in droves.

Indy Eleven: Indianapolis will be making their USL debut as well, so they will also be out to prove that they can hang with soccer’s best each and every week. There’s already an existing rivalry between the two cities in the NFL for the Colts and Titans, so it shouldn’t be too hard to ignite a new one.