Open Cup Preview: Nashville SC v San Antonio FC

After a 1-1 match at home against LAFC, Nashville turns its sights toward another competition, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Tonight, the ‘Yotes welcome USL Championship side, San Antonio FC to Nashville for the first time. Last year, Nashville made a run to the Quarterfinals, can they go deeper? Or will San Antonio play spoiler?

Nashville SC

6th (MLS Eastern Conference) | 11 points | 3-3-3 | +3 GD |

The Lamar Hunt U.S Open Cup is upon us as Nashville SC enters, like all MLS teams, into the Round of 32. the 108th edition of the competition marks just the second MLS appearance for the Boys in Gold after two-year hiatus due to Covid.

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Nashville SC under Gary Smith has always treated the Open Cup with respect and fielded a fairly strong lineup, choosing to rely on many first-team players. This year, Nashville has the added benefit of an MLS Next Pro team but don’t expect to see a team of Hunstville FC players. When asked about this in the pre match press conference, Smith said:

“It will be predominately be guys that we’ve got here and a part of the senior roster. I have had discussions with Jack and Liam Doyle down at Hunstville about one or two of their guys and we’ll see if we can get a couple of those lads as part of the group. But I think the vast majority of this will be the players that we have here.”

Whil Gary may have poured cold water on a team full of prospects, he went on to talk about the important role Hunstville as a club has played. Several members of the Nashville squad have been able to get minutes in MLS Next Pro and should be much sharper coming in to tonights match up.

With that in mind, Nashville could end up looking something like this:

San Antonio FC

4th (USL Championship Western Conference) | 12 points | 3-3-1 | +3 GD |

The reigning USL Championship champions (that’s fun to say) make their way to Nashville for their first match between these two sides. During Nashville’s time in USL, they never had the opportunity to play San Antonio but there is a bit of a connection between the two clubs. Former Club captain Michael Reed played there before his move to Nashville.

San Antonio is coach by Alen Marcina who has been in charge of the team since the 2020 season where he has led them to three straight play off appearances including a dominating 2022 season that saw the club win the Regular Season Title, Western Conference Championship and the USL Cup Final.

Marcina chooses to use a direct style of play that will not look to sit back against this Nashville team. They are incredibly well organized on both sides of the ball and will look to limit opportunities created. Last season, they had the best defense in all of USL.

While defensively solid, they also have plenty of talent in the attack.

San Antonio has done a great job getting in players on loan from MLS clubs and last season brought in Samuel Adeniran from Seattle Sounders. In the off season, he was traded to MLS expansion club Saint Louis CITY SC, but as of yesterday has been loaned back to SAFC.

We do not know if he will be available for tonight’s match, but if so the Nashville defense will have their hands full with this electric attacker.

Outside of Adeniran, Midfielder Mohammed Abu will be one for Nashville to keep their eye on. He is a dynamic midfielder who is able to create chances for the three attacking players in front of him. If Nashville can cut out his passing lanes, it will go a long way to stopping San Antonio from scoring.

Prematch Press Conference

Pod Picks

Andy Simmons

Score: Nashville 3-0 San Antonio
Scorers: Ethan Zubak x2, Ján Greguš
MOTM: Ethan Zubak
Bold Prediction: Nashville has over 60% possession

Chris Ivey

Score: Nashville 2-1 San Antonio
Scorers: Jacob Shaffelburg, Ethan Zubak
MOTM: Ethan Zubak
Bold Prediction: It’s another dramatic late-game goal for Zubak in the Open Cup

Ben Wright

Score: Nashville 3-0 San Antonio
Scorers: Jacob Shaffelburg, Ethan Zubak, Hany Mukhtar
MOTM: Jacob Shaffelburg
Bold Prediction: Nashville scores within the first 20 minutes forcing San Antonio to open up

Jonathan Slape

Score: Nashville 3-1 San Antonio
Scorers: Jacob Shaffelburg, Ján Greguš, Josh Bauer
MOTM: Ján Greguš
Bold Prediction: Greguš scores and assists from a free kick

Valair Shabilla

Score: Nashville 3-1 San Antonio
Scorers: Ethan, Zubak, Luke Haakenson, Josh Bauer
MOTM: Luke Haakenson
Bold Prediction: Bauer scores and does the griddy again

Fan Forecast

Match info

Teams: Nashville SC v. San Antonio FC
Date: Wednesday, April 26
Time: 7:30 pm CDT, GEODIS Park, Nashville, Tennessee
TV: B/R App or B/R Football Youtube
Forecast: 72°/51°. Partly Cloudy. 20% chance of rain. 40% humidity

Author: Jonathan Slapeoriginated from outside of Atlanta but has lived in Nashville since 2005. Original member of Speedway Soccer and has been talking and occasionally writing about Nashville SC since the USL days. Self proclaimed official fashion correspondent. Outside of Nashville SC you can find him singing the praises of Jurgen Klopp, discussing the latest in sneakers and soccer fashion with a good stiff drink.

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