Nashville SC may be heading to Major League Soccer, but they played in their first home game in the USL on Saturday in front of almost 19,000 fans in rainy conditions in Tennessee’s capital city.
18,922 fans turned up to watch Nashville play the Pittsburgh Riverhounds and to put this into context, second-tier side FC Cincinnati led the way in USL crowds last season with an average of 21,198 and Sacramento Republic FC were in second place with an average of 11,569 fans turning up.
With Nashville awarded an MLS franchise in December 2017 and expected to start play in MLS for the 2019 season (but that could be pushed to 2020), they will field a team in the second-tier of North American soccer in 2018 to get themselves ready for their inaugural season in MLS.
Head coach Gary Smith will usually coach his side at the 8,500 capacity First Tennessee Park this year but such was the interest in being at Nashville SC’s first game, they moved the game against the Riverhounds to Nissan Stadium.
Fans marched to the venue, the home of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans, and were in great voice throughout the day as Nashville drew 0-0 with Pittsburgh as goalkeeper Matt Pickens was named Man of the Match.
Take a look at the videos below to get a flavor of what we can expect from having Nashville in MLS.