Well, with Tuesday’s announcement the MLS schedule has (finally) been released. Unlike Nashville SC’s preseason matches, you’ll actually have the pleasure of watching. Novel idea right? You a consumer of sports media, wanting to be able to watch the product of your choice? I digress.
Despite my annoyance with the preseason, I, like you am thrilled for Nashville’s second MLS campaign to kick off. There are countless story lines that we’ll get into both here on Broadway and on the Nashville Soccer Show, but today today I wanted to highlight a few of the games that I personally am most excited for. In a season that will be slightly condensed, and still somewhat influenced by COVID, there are some absolute gems pick from.
34 matches consisting of:
- Home and away with the entire Eastern Conference.
- Western Conference match-ups against Austin FC and Real Salt Lake.
- Bonus match ups against, FC Cincinnati, CF Montreal, Inter Miami CF, Atlanta United, Toronto FC, and Orlando City SC.
Of those three “bonus” teams, Cincy, Montreal and Atlanta did not make the playoffs in 2020. Inter Miami would not have qualified in a normal year. Last, Nashville SC advanced further than both Orlando and Toronto (who of course NSC dispatched themselves). Now, onto the matches I’m already circling on my calendar.
Fixtures to watch
- Saturday April 17 – Nashville SC vs FC Cincinnati. Season opener against the closest thing to a rival Nashville SC has in its young existence. This will be the first match up of the former USL clubs in MLS. I think MLS gets a ton wrong, but making this the season opener was an absolute home run.
- Sunday May 2 – Nashville SC vs Inter Miami. For better or worse, these two clubs will ALWAYS be linked together. The two sides came into the league together last year, and both made the playoffs. Across three match ups in 2020, Nashville SC went 2-1-0, the most notable result being a 3-0 playoff victory. This will be the first match up since that night in November that saw Inter Miami DP Rodolfo Pizzaro walk off the field without addressing the away support. This one is also of note as its one of only three NSC games to make National TV this season.
- Sunday May 23 – Nashville SC vs Austin FC. No longer the new kids on the block, NSC welcomes debutants Austin FC to the Music City. The 2nd of three games to be on TV nationwide, this one will has all the makings of a tie we’ll like for years to come.
- Saturday May 29 and Saturday August 28 – Atlanta United FC vs Nashville SC. Both away fixtures to Mercedes Benz are with noting on this list. Traveling fans weren’t able to make the trip last season, and with the increase in vaccinations AT LEAST the August trip should be on the menu for an away day. The stadium is can’t miss and who doesn’t like a trip to Atlanta.
- Wednesday June 23 – Nashville SC vs Toronto FC. TFC will have revenge on the mind when they head to Nashville. The two sides met in the 2nd round of the 2020 playoffs, with Nashville SC coming out on top. Since then, TFC has experienced a coaching change, and an off season full of questions. A strong start and “Righting the wrong” that took place in the playoffs will go a long way towards answering those questions.
- Wednesday July 21 – Columbus Crew SC vs Nashville SC. Just a month after the TFC matchup, Nashville will be the ones looking for pay back. Nashville head to face the team that ended their inaugural season with two extra time goals in November. That same team JUST so happened to go on and win MLS Cup. On paper, this is the best team in the league and this match up will again be a measuring stick for Gary Smith’s side.
- Wednesday October 27 – FC Cincinnati vs Nashville SC. We’ve already talked about the rivalry, but the return fixture adds something *extra* special. Think whatever you want about the pious fans, and the abject failure that the on field product has been. The stadium looks to be the absolute crown jewel of soccer specific stadiums in the United States. Paired with a home crowd that made a wonky college football field intimidating is sure to be something special. This matchup is WAY late in the season. I think even the pessimist could expect the all clear for leisure travel by the fall. Mark your calendars now folks.
Well, that’s what I’ve got. I think there is something for everyone there. Love the list? Hate it? Have something to add? Hit me up on twitter and let me know your thoughts. Let’s hope for a much more normal season this time around ok?