Spoiler alert: Nashville Soccer Club did not win the first game at its brand-new stadium in South Nashville. But, the team didn’t lose, either. And for an inaugural game, that’s a victory in itself.
Most post-game interviews with players and coaches after a loss — or a tie — have a kind of frustrated tone. That was not the case for Nashville SC on Sunday.
Despite a 1-1 draw against the visiting Philadelphia Union, coach Gary Smith spoke with a lot of reverence — not just for his players, but for the fans.
“The crowd were magnificent,” he said. “I think the guys realized from the very first moment they walked out to the warm-ups that, you know, there was going to be a recognition of the guys being back home and in this new stadium.”
The acoustics of the new Geodis Park certainly helped as well. Cheers in, at least, English and Spanish rang out stadium-wide and bounced off the people and seats across the pitch, reverberating to the point where players later said, laughing, that they couldn’t hear teammates yelling from 15 feet away on the field.
“It’s not a fairytale,” Smith said, “but it was, I thought, an incredible atmosphere and a wonderful game.”
The storybook ending the team was hoping for — a win after a string of eight away games since mid-February — didn’t come to fruition. But, the team did wrangle 30,000 people into a brand-new arena. And, watching them all wave opening game flags after the hard-fought goal to tie up the game is a fairytale beginning at least.