CONCACAF announces plans for Gold Cup return to Nissan Stadium

Nissan Stadium will once again be a part of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, as it was announced Thursday afternoon the venue will host a game in the 2019 competition.

The home of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans is one of 15 venues in the United States, Central America, and the Carribean that will host games for the tournament next year. Nashville joins Los Angeles, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Charlotte, Minnesota, Dallas, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Denver as host cities for the Gold Cup.

It’s been apparent over the past couple of years that Nissan Stadium has been worthy of hosting notable soccer matches. The venue drew 47,622 fans during the United States Men’s National Team 1-1 draw against Panama in a 2017 Gold Cup group stage match. There was also a fairly sizeable crowds for newly-crowned Premier League Champions Manchester City’s friendly against Tottenham Hotspur last year, which brought in over 56,000 fans. Those two matches set records for highest-attended soccer matches in the state of Tennessee.

“We’re thrilled to welcome the Gold Cup back to Nashville next year,” Nashville Mayor David Briley said.

“Soccer is growing and thriving here, and CONCACAF and its teams and fans will get the same warm welcome all our visitors receive – plus a lot of loud cheers and chants ringing through Nissan Stadium. The Gold Cup will be another great showcase for ‘the beautiful game’ in our beautiful city.”

Nashville SC teased that the Gold Cup could be making a return to Music City when it tweeted out this yesterday.

Nashville SC drew 18,922 fans to its match against Pittsburgh Riverhounds March 23 at Nissan Stadium, which was the highest-attended match in the United States that particular weekend.

Which day and what round Nissan Stadium will host have not yet been determined.

 

Nashville SC lost to Atlanta United, and that’s OK

Saturday’s historic soccer extravaganza at First Tennessee Park in the Music City went somewhat as expected. The weather could have been a little better, but the result was about right. The game finished 3-1 in favor of Atlanta in front of 9,059 fans.

But, you know what? That’s ok.

Nashville SC is a brand new team who have only practiced together for a couple of weeks. Atlanta United has had a full season of Major League Soccer under their belt. Not to mention, they made the playoffs in their inaugural season. They are supposed to be the heavy favorites against an upstart team.

Atlanta had the better amount of chances in the first half. Josef Martinez, Ezequiel Barco, and Darlington Nagbe all looked dangerous in the attacking portion, while Nashville was limited to barely any chances on goal. Goalkeeper Matt Pickens was busy though. He finished the game with one save before being subbed off in the second half.

Martinez scored for Atlanta in the 57th minute with a cool finish from just inside the 18-yard box that bested CJ Cochran to find the net after collecting an errant back pass.

Nashville SC’s first goal in their inaugural history came from Ropapa Mensah in the 65th minute. Tucker Hume flicked on a long ball to Alan Winn on the left side. Winn took a touch and whipped in a cross that Mensah was able to finish with a chip in the middle of the penalty box.

Brandon Vazquez put Atlanta United ahead for good after taking Nagbe’s layoff and slotting it past Cochran in the 74th minute. Romario Williams added one more goal in the 78th minute.

“I thought my group, they conducted themselves and gave a good account of themselves, especially in the first period.” said Nashville SC coach Gary Smith.

“There were moments, especially since we’ve been together for two weeks, where we can look back on and be pleased defensively. I thought we were difficult to break down. There were some nice challenges in the field of play. I would’ve like to have been a bigger threat on their goal, but when it’s all said and done, I think when you look at the makeup of (Atlanta United), we’ve given ourselves a pretty decent account of ourselves.”

The Boys in Gold will figure things out. Their organization was strong, and their possession looked sharped. They were strong on the break as well, which is where the goal came from. Once they have more time to gel on the pitch with each other in gamelike situations, this team can only go up.

One thing that cannot be denied, however, is the unwavering amount of support in the stands.

Nashville loves its sports teams. That was apparent today. Not many fan bases would go sit out in the pouring rain for hours to watch a brand new team play in a stadium that’s not even designated for that particular sport.

But Nashville fans did. In fact, kudos need to be given to both sets of fans. The Atlanta support groups showed up by the droves, but that was to be expected. For the Nashville crowd, the sellout (twice!) was a good sign, but it was unclear whether the pouring rain and dreary conditions would force them to retreat to dry conditions.

But they didn’t. They were loud, they were proud, and it showed.

“Credit to the city of Nashville coming out and supporting us,” said Pickens.

“Hopefully they got a good show. We got to see what they’re about, so we’re going to go out there and fight all year for these guys. First game, they came out blazing, so hopefully we can return that favor to them.”

Nashville SC will now turn its attention to another MLS side, as it faces off against Chicago Fire at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.

Will Nashville SC sign any players from its local tryout?

135 soccer players gathered at Montgomery Bell Academy Saturday in hopes of realizing their dreams of playing professional soccer, as Nashville SC hosted its open tryouts for local, regional, and internationl players to showcase their talents.

The question now is, will Nashville SC make a move and sign any of these players who showed up? Nashville SC head coach Gary Smith, who is no stranger to these tryouts, expressed what he was looking for. He wanted to see if individuals possessed some physicality, athleticism, and technical skill to make the cut.

“I enjoyed this. There’s a lot of talent here.” said Smith,

“We’re looking for players that have potential. Not neccesarily individuals who have experience in the USL or above, but ones who have ability, a future, and potential.”

The club now has two weeks to make additional signings and get some practices in before the long-awaited preseason game vs. Atlanta United. Smith already has an idea of what kind of formation he wants to implement with his squad, which currently has 23 players signed.

“I know exactly what I want to do and how I’m going to play,” said Smith,

“I’m sure, as the games unfold, I’ll have put a side out that reflects how we’re going to play. It’s not going to be a secret. So we’ll be planning and training in the way we want to move forward. I’m delighted with the opposition we have in preseason. The group is going to need some games where it doesn’t go our way, and that’s the only way to learn.”

Fleet Street’s Henderson wants pub to be home to all soccer fans, including Nashville SC

Fleet Street Pub is notoriously known as the home of the Nashville Gooners and Arsenal watch parties. Owner Glenn Henderson, however, wants it to be known that his pub is a haven for all soccer hooligans.

It actually used to be that way, before the underground location was cloaked in scarfs from various Arsenal chapters across the nation. Premier League fans of all teams would come in during various hours of the match days to enjoy a pint or English pub grub like fish and chips.

“This was the Tottenham pub, the Chelsea Pub. Liverpool people, Everton people have come in. At some point, the Arsenal crowd just got so big, that the others just wanted their own place,” said Henderson.

Modeled after a pub Henderson visited in Sheffield, England, he decided to bring the pub tradition to Nashville. The name comes from London’s Fleet Street, where one of the original newspapers was printed on in the early 1700’s. Fitting for a place to be named that on Printer’s Alley, home of Nashville’s first published newspaper as well.

“The pub scene is everything in the United Kingdom. It’s not a well-known concept here in the U.S.A.  It’s not just a bar, or a restaurant, it’s both. I’ve had people say, ‘I can’t tell if it’s a restaurant or a bar.’ In my mind, that’s exactly what I want. We have great food, but we also have amazing English beer. We’ve gone to great lengths to dig up this information, so we can serve up all these delicious food and drinks,” said Henderson.

Of course, Henderson knew he had to start showing the Premier League, the most popular league in England and the United Kingdom. That concept was already in the back of his mind.

“We knew, as soon as we were going to do an English pub, that we were going to have football on at all times. But it wasn’t popular in Nashville. When we first opened, there was only one placed that showed the games, and it was in Brentwood,” said Henderson.

“Now, for Arsenal games, we’re always open. If the game is at 6:05 a.m., we’ll be here at 5:30 a.m. We did that for all the teams for the first couple of years.”

Since opening, the Premier League has exploded in popularity due to it’s ability to reach the world through social media and the television contract NBC has with it in America. With that, his crowds have gotten bigger during match day. It’s sometimes hard to get a seat when there’s a big Arsenal game on.

But Henderson’s main goal is always to be a pub where soccer fans of all teams can come to unite and cheer on their squads. This, of course, includes Nashville SC. He’s expecting and hoping that fans of the local team will frequent his pub when they have a match that day. Considering the team will play at First Tennessee Park the first few years, it’s not too hard to imagine fans making that short walk.

“We expect to be a pub for the local team as well,” said Henderson.

“Mayor (Megan) Barry probably had as much to do with it as anyone, and I don’t think you can give enough credit to the ownership group. That’s a great group of business guys. Soccer is a big deal now. If (Nashville SC) comes in and they start to win, then they’re going to fill that place up.”

 

Pilot

You would have thought that, after her introduction at the #NashvilleMLS press conference and the positive roar from the crowd she got, Nashville Mayor Megan Barry had gone out to Highway 440 and repaved the entire road herself.

Barry, however, was of course one of the driving catalysts, along with billionaire businessman John Ingram and the Wilf brothers – Mark and Zygi – to help bring America’s most prominent soccer league to Music City. Judging by the response and the turnout at the press conference, I think Major League Soccer in Nashville is going to do just fine.

And that’s where I come in.

My name is Andy Simmons. I’m a former high school sports reporter for the Tennessean, The Dickson Herald, and the Southeast Sun in Enterprise, Al. Although most of my career as a journalist has been focused around high school and prep sports, my love for the beautiful game has never faded. I’m a student of the game myself, having grown up playing soccer most of my life. I’ve played, I’ve coached, and I’ve even refereed while growing up. I’ve also grown up watching Major League Soccer and the Premier League (In case you’re wondering, I’m an Arsenal fan. Oofa).

Many people in my life have suggested that I start my own blog. I’ve been hesitant to follow up on that request, since the timing has not really been right and I just knew I wasn’t ready. Funny how life works itself out sometimes.

The MLS expansion to Nashville means the beginning of my blog. Welcome to the 615 Formation. Here, I’m going to dedicate my time and efforts bringing you informative, honest, accurate, and interactive coverage of Nashville SC, as the club begin its journey into the United Soccer League this year and, eventually, the MLS.

But I also want to focus on soccer in the Middle Tennessee area as well. The club teams, the high school teams, the watch parties and pubs that host them, the various support groups (I’m looking at you, Roadies). They all deserve some attention. I intend to share their stories to not only Nashville and the state of Tennessee, but hopefully the entire nation.

So get ready, soccer fans. I hope you enjoy my work and continue to check back in with us as we move forward in this exciting time. We’ll have featurie stories and podcasts coming your way soon. In the meantime, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@615Formation). You can also send us an email (615Formation@gmail.com) if you have a cool soccer-related story you’d like to bring to our attention.

Thanks for taking time out of your day to read this, and glory Music City.