Another great night for soccer in the Music City this week. The USMNT beat Mexico 1-0 on 9/11/2018 in front of over 40,000 fans at Nissan Stadium. This was a great showing by Nashville for a Tuesday night. The Yanks played Brail a few days earlier at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey and drew less than 33,000 on a Friday night. Both games would have drawn significantly more people if the United States Soccer Federation didn’t price tickets so high. Even the upper bowl corners in Nissan were over $50. Add in parking and consessions and both matches were just way overpriced for a team that didn’t make the World Cup and was playing a very young lineup. There was a large walk up crowd in the Music City and it bodes well for MLS and potentially landing World Cup games in 2026. As for the match and game day experience I was mostly pleased.
It didn’t start well. My kids had homework and decided to bail last minute. Usually I like to tailgate with the American Outlaws for hours, but only had 20 minutes for this match. AO always does a great job. There were tents which wasn’t needed as the weather was perfect, but at previous games the shade they provide is a must. There was the giant soccer dartboard that many kids and adults alike were enjoying kicking balls at. Of course there was food, drink and the typical chants. I saw people from every Nashville SC supporter’s group at the match. AO marched to the stadium at 6:30. I didn’t go in at that time as I knew kickoff wasn’t until 8:10. Some friends and Roadies decided to hit up the MLS2Nashville and TSSA tailgate. There were way more suits there than at the AO tailgate, but the beer and wine were free so we were happy. We chilled there until 7:45. At that point there was a huge line still waiting to get inside Nissan at the gate closest to our location. So we went one gate over where there was literally nobody and walked right inside. Someone at Nissan needs to direct traffic between gates. I’m sure that line tainted many people’s experience at the match.
As for the match, the USMNT wasn’t good in the first half. Weston McKennie picked up a knock late in the half and Julian Green subbed on for him. Luckily, the injury wasn’t too serious and this led to a formation change. The Yanks were much better once they switched out of the 4-1-4-1. The game turned on a second half red card following an incident with Matt Miazga which I’ll get to in a second. Once up a man Tyler Adams got the game winner and though I wanted and thought dos a cero was coming any win over El Tri is good.
Opinions are mixed on the Matt Miazga incident. I loved it. There are many iconic moments in soccer that make a rivalry and this will be one of them. A decade from now the lasting image from the match is going to be Miazga towering over Diego Lainez making fun of his height. The fact that Mexico got a red card about a minute later makes it even more memorable. The Mexico rivalry is filled with these moments. Brian McBride’s eye swelling shut in the original dos a cero match. Rafa Marquez cheap shot on Coby Jones at the end of the 2002 World Cup match. Gooch staredown of Borgetti. Even some painful ones like Gio’s chip at the Rose Bowl. Trust me, everyone will remember the game in Nashville for this image.
As for who I liked it was pretty much what I expected going in. The USMNT need to build around Adams, McKennie, Miazga, Brooks, Weah and Pulisic. If all healthy that is a young talented core that just needs a few more pieces. Hopefully, Sargent is one of them.