NASHVILLE, TN – In front of a crowd of 59,069 at Nissan Stadium, Nashville SC fell to Atlanta United in their Major League Soccer debut. The expansion side left a good account of themselves, but weren’t able to match the Five Stripes’ quality in the final third.
Head coach Gary Smith kept his core group of players unchanged from preseason, giving David Accam the start on the right, with Dominique Badji leading the attack.
Nashville started the match energetically, employing a high press and forcing Atlanta into a couple nervy moments in the back. However, it was Atlanta who opened the scoring through Ezequiel Barco. Barco picked up the ball outside the box, and took advantage of lax marking and a miscommunication between Eric Miller and David Accam. The Argentine international took his space and rifled the ball into the far corner, giving Atlanta an early lead.
Nashville continued to press as the game opened up, coming close to goal on multiple occasions before Walker Zimmerman found the equalizer. The $1.25 million defender got on the end of a Hany Mukhtar free kick, attempting a header before poking the rebound home for Nashville’s first goal in MLS.
The lead didn’t last long, though. In the 40th minute, Aníbal Godoy partially cleared a set piece, but his header only made it as far is Emerson Hyndman, who smashed home a right-footed volley from just inside the box.
Nashville pressed hard in the second half, narrowly missing a chance from David Accam, and hitting the woodwork via Randall Leal. However, their efforts weren’t enough to find an equalizer, and the score remained unchanged.
Nashville will be back in action next Sunday, traveling to Portland to take on the Timbers.