Gary Smith will hit a major milestone tonight. When Nashville SC take on Columbus Crew at Lower.com Field on Saturday, Smith will have managed 200 Nashville SC matches.
Smith, 54, was hired on April 12, 2017 to manage Nashville’s USL side. In two seasons at in the American second division, Smith led the Boys In Gold to a record of 32 wins, 20 losses and 16 draws, scoring 101 goals and conceding 57.
Nashville qualified for the playoffs in both seasons, finishing in eighth place in USL’s Eastern Conference in 2018 before a second place finish in 2019, where they advanced to the quarterfinals of the playoffs.
Additionally, Smith led Nashville to a record of one win and one loss in the US Open Cup. In 2018, Nashville advanced to the Round of 16, knocking off MLS’s Colorado Rapids in a 2-0 win, losing in penalties in the Third Round to Charleston Battery in 2019.
Smith was named head coach of Nashville SC’s MLS expansion club on November 3, 2019. In a 2020 season decimated by Covid, Smith led Nashville to a seventh-place finish in the Eastern Conference, just the fourth team in the MLS expansion era to qualify for the playoffs in their first season. Nashville won two playoff matches in 2020, falling in extra time to Columbus Crew in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
The ‘Yotes finished in third place in the MLS Eastern Conference in 2021, tied with Philadelphia Union on points. Nashville beat Orlando City 3-1 in the first round of the playoffs before falling to the Union in penalties in the conference semifinals.
Playing in the Western Conference in 2022, Smith led Nashville through an eight-match road trip to start the season, earning a historic 1.38 points per game before finishing in fifth place and falling to the LA Galaxy in the first round of the playoffs.
Under Smith, Nashville have been a top three defensive team in all but one season, and were the best defense in USL in 2019 and MLS in 2021, and currently lead MLS in 2023. Smith is already the eight-longest tenured manager in MLS, and after a strong start to 2023, he looks set to qualify for the playoffs for a sixth-consecutive season.
|US Open Cup||2018||3||1||+5||R16|
|USL Playoffs||2019||1||1||+1||Conf. Semifinals|
|US Open Cup||2019||1||1||+1||3rd Round|
|MLS Cup Playoffs||2020||2||1||+2||Conf. Semifinals|
|MLS Cup Playoffs||2021||1||0||1||+2||Conf. Semifinals|
|MLS Cup Playoffs||2022||0||0||1||-1||1st Round|
|US Open Cup||2022||2||1||+2||QF|
|US Open Cup||2023||2||1||+2||R16|