Nashville SC head coach Gary Smith urged his side’s supporters to ramp up the noise again at their new stadium when Real Salt Lake visit in MLS.
Nashville opened their new 30,000 GEODIS Park venue with a late draw against Philadelphia Union to keep their 19-match unbeaten run in the Music City intact.
Smith’s side remain in a three-way tie with Colorado Rapids and Houston Dynamo for the final Western Conference playoff spot, and the Englishmen implored Nashville supporters to make their voices heard.
“The crowd were magnificent,” Smith said. “From the very first moment, the guys realized it was going to be wonderful.
“The acoustics were brilliant. It was an incredible, enveloping noise.
“The most important piece of the puzzle for us starting this new phase of our world in this wonderful stadium was not to get beat first game.
“Of course we want to win, but we had to find resilience to at least get something out of the game. Which the guys did. It’s not a fairytale, but it will be a wonderful atmosphere.”
Salt Lake snapped a five-match league winless run with a narrow 1-0 win over LA Galaxy, keeping them in the top five in the West, and coach Pablo Mastroeni expressed his delight.
“We talk about the mentality and the character of the group,” Mastroeni said after the win.
“And after last week, or the week before or whatever it was, where we didn’t show up in New York, it was basically a call to arms.
“But in real-time, when points are on the line, when you’ve worked extremely hard, when you’ve come off a tough week, that performance was exactly what was needed to get three points.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Nashville SC – Daniel Lovitz
Daniel Lovitz led the way in the GEODIS Park opening, creating a team-high three chances against the Union.
Real Salt Lake – Pablo Ruiz
Pablo Ruiz was a creative force against the Galaxy, making a game-leading three key passes from his central-midfield role.
KEY OPTA FACTS
·Real Salt Lake has recorded a win and a draw in its first two matches against Nashville, both played in Salt Lake. Nashville has at least one win against all 12 teams its faced three or more times in its MLS history.
·Nashville opened GEODIS Park with a 1-1 draw against Philadelphia on Sunday, extending its home unbeaten run to 20 matches (W10 D10) dating back to the 2020 playoffs. Nashville has gone over 18 months since losing at home, a 1-0 defeat to FC Dallas on November 4, 2020.
·Real Salt Lake has managed just one win in six away matches this season (D3 L2), a 3-2 victory over New England in March. RSL has managed just one goal in its other five on the road this season and, dating back to last season’s playoffs, have failed to score in six of their last nine away from home.
·Randall Leal’s 85th-minute penalty on Sunday earned Nashville a point against the Union. Nashville has not lost any of the 12 matches in which Leal has scored since joining MLS in 2020 (W8 D4, incl. playoffs).
·Jefferson Savarino is returning to Real Salt Lake, where he played for three seasons, from 2017-19. Savarino scored 22 times in those three seasons (incl. playoffs) as only Albert Rusnák (28) scored more goals for RSL in MLS over those three years.