Want to see as much quality USL action in 2018 as you can? Gather round and I’ll try to make that happen. Let’s fit in as many games as possible with a couple ground rules:
- No missing an NSC home game. We’ll get to every darn one.
- At least one game in each non-NSC team’s stadium. We’ll also try to minimize repeats unless it’s both available and convenient with other travel plans.
- Try to get to the Western Conference as much as possible (this will require some flying, obviously)
- We’ll try to avoid trips to Atlanta United 2 or FC Cincinnati (since those are the two teams that NSC faces twice at home, and are both easy choices to fall back on thanks to distance).
Feb. 10: Atlanta United @ Nashville SC. No missing this one, preseason or no.
March 16: St. Louis FC @ Rio Grande Valley. Let’s head to South Texas for the opening game of the season (but get some rest on the way there, we have a long haul afterwards).
March 17: Tulsa Roughnecks @ OKC Energy. Merely an 11-hour drive to get from the first game of the regular season to the closest one the next day.
March 24: Pittsburgh Riverhounds @ Nashville SC
March 28: Fresno FC @ Seattle Sounders 2. We’ll hop a flight to the Emerald State to catch what should be a good Sounders B-team in live action.
March 31: Portland Timbers 2 @ Real Monarchs. We have a couple days between games to make the 12-hour drive down to Salt Lake City (I won’t blame you if you try to get as much driving in the first day so you can ski the second). You get a chance to check out two more reserve teams, and probably the most impressive facility in American soccer.
April 4: Colorado Springs Switchbacks @ Swope Park Rangers. We’re drivin’ back to Nashville for the next home game, so let’s make a trip of it, with three days to make it 16 hours to Swope Park, then a comparatively easy eight-hour drive from the Kansas City area to Nashville.
April 7: Charlotte Independence @ Nashville SC
April 11: Phoenix Rising FC @ LA Galaxy II. It’s back in the air to the West Coast as we knock out as many of thee teams as possible during the long breaks between home games in the front half of NSC’s season.
April 14: Sacramento Republic @ Las Vegas Lights. The four-hours drive that Los Angelenos know so well from their hometown to Sin City.
April 18: Colorado Springs Switchbacks @ Sacramento FC. We’ll spend our time on the West Coast seeing as many home stadiums as possible, so we head up to MLS expansion rival Sacramento.
April 22: San Antonio @ Fresno FC. While we’re in the region, we check out one more California team before we head back home.
April 24: Nashville SC @ Penn FC. Time to hop back in a plane and head East once more. We take in our first Nashville SC away game of the year, and we’re about to head down the opposite coast than we just got used to.
April 25: Toronto FC II @ Richmond Kickers. Just a three-hour jaunt down I-95 (this will definitely take longer than that, but the density of the East Coast is refreshing nonetheless), and the rare Tuesday-Wednesday turnaround is an easy one.
April 28: Indy Eleven @ Charlotte Independence. Although there’s a shorter drive available than this four and a half hour trip, it would mean seeing Penn FC (at North Carolina FC) for the second time in four days.
May 5: Pittsburgh Riverhounds @ Toronto FC II. A couple days back at home to recharge the batteries, and we’re back in the sky – although this is a TFCII home game, it’s actually in Rochester, N.Y., as part of the Rhinos’ attempt to fulfill their lease (while on one-year hiatus) by hostong MLS games in their home stadium.
May 6: Nashville SC @ New York Red Bulls II. Heading to the Northeast was a conscious decision that allows us to not only take in a new stadium and new city (I hear New Jersey is beautiful in the springtime), but see our Boys in Gold in a road match.
May 9: Penn FC @ Toronto FC II. Since our previous “home” visit to Toronto actually took place in upstate New York, we have to hit up the Queen City (not to be confused with Cincy) while we’re in the region.
May 13: Louisville City @ Nashville SC. We’ll head home from lovely Newark International (though we could work our way back on the road, we’re gonna have to rest at some point) and prepare for another Penn FC game, this time at First Tennessee.
May 19: Tulsa Roughnecks @ San Antonio FC. This one’s a flight, but a relatively easy one, and our only reasonable chance to make it to San Antonio.
May 26: Nashville SC @ Charleston Battery. If you don’t have family plans for Memorial Day, this is extremely convenient: not only do you get to see NSC play, but you can make a weekend of it at the beach.
May 30: Phoenix Rising @ Saint Louis FC. We’ll have to pop out on a quick flight, most likely (I hope you have a car you can leave in Charleston), then drive back to make the NSC game. It’s necessary though: this is our only chance to make a trip to the hometown of Nelly.
June 2: Penn FC @ Nashville SC
June 9: Nashville SC @ Tampa Bay Rowdies. There aren’t many good multi-game roadtrip options available, so let’s hop a quick flight to see our boys in one of the coolest stadiums in lower-division soccer.
June 16: North Carolina FC @ Nashville SC
June 23: LA Galaxy II @ OKC Energy. We’ve already visited Taft Stadium (and seen LA Galaxy II), but this allows us to catch two games this weekend without ending up too far from Nashville to make it back for a Tuesday home game…
June 24: Las Vegas Lights @ Swope Park Rangers. Because we’ve got a game just five hours away from Oklahoma City on Sunday, before devoting our Monday to the drive home.
June 26: Indy Eleven @ Nashville SC
June 30: Atlanta United 2 @ Nashville SC
July 4: Ottawa Fury @ Indy Eleven. “Where would I like to spend my Fourth of July holiday?” “Indianapolis, Indiana!” I’m mostly joking here – this is going to be a day off because we’ll be seeing Indy soon.
July 7: FC Cincinnati @ Nashville SC. #MLS2Nashville
July 11: Nashville SC @ Charlotte Independence. Another relatively easy roadtrip that results in getting to see our own team.
July 13: Richmond Kickers @ New York Red Bulls II. We have just a couple days for a nine-hour drive, but it’ll make for a good week-plus spent in the Northeast.
July 14: North Carolina FC @ Bethlehem Steel. Back-to-back games within a couple days of a long car ride? Fortunately, there’s only a little over an hour to travel to get to this one.
July 18: Bethlehem Steel @ New York Red Bulls II. Yeah, we just saw both of these teams, but this game will tide us over to head to the Great White North to see NSC shortly.
July 21: Nashville SC @ Ottawa Fury. We’ll get to meet up with Canada’s Number One Nashville SC Fan @FrenchyNash, see our team perform in another country, and get ready to catch a flight back home.
July 25: Atlanta United 2 @ Nashville SC
Aug. 1: FC Cincinnati @ Indy Eleven. Don’t have to go far to see two Eastern Conference rivals, and get a little scouting in for…
Aug. 4: Nashville SC @ FC Cincinnati. Can’t pass up the opportunity to see our own team in one of the USL’s best environments.
Aug. 5: Indy Eleven @ Louisville City. This is literally on the drive home. Nice little triangle we hit here.
Aug. 10: Ottawa Fury @ Nashville SC
Aug. 11: Orange County @ Phoenix Rising. You’ll have to pop right over to BNA after the Fury game to make it out here in time for this one the next day. We should be able to wrap up our West Coast quota (seeing every team’s stadium) this week.
Aug. 15: Las Vegas Lights @ Orange County. Yes, we’ll be seeing Orange County back-to-back, but this should get Champions Soccer Stadium knocked off the list. It’s just a five-hour drive with three off-days to make it.
Aug. 18: LA Galaxy II @ Sacramento Republic. I went back-and-forth on it and finally decided: we’re driving to Portland, so let’s stop at this one on the way.
Aug. 19: Seattle Sounders 2 @ Portland Timbers 2. This is a nine-hour drive (and potentially trying to make it for a day game immediately after a night game, which is possibly not doable, but this is all fantasy anyway), but we get to see the reserve teams in one of the game’s great rivalries, which should be cool. If that’s too much to ask, we can be a little more patient and see Orange County for the third time in four games Aug. 22 when Portland hosts them. Either way, we’re flying home after we see a game in Portland.
Aug. 25: Bethlehem Steel @ Nashville SC
Aug. 28: Richmond Kickers @ Nashville SC
Aug. 31: Charleston Battery @ Louisville City. It’s a short trip, and we’ve had almost a whole week to rest after our taxing trip on the West Coast.
Sept. 1: Pittsburgh Riverhounds @ FC Cincinnati. We have a choice to to go Cincy or Indy from Louisville, and since we just saw Richmond (who the Eleven host today) in Nashville a couple days ago, we choose Nippert.
Sept. 8: Nashville SC @ North Carolina FC. Perfect timing, as we get to travel to NCFC for the first time, and it also means seeing our home squad in a road game.
Sept. 15: Rio Grande Valley @ Colorado Springs Switchbacks. This one’s a flight, and for just one game, but we haven’t seen Colorado Springs yet, so let’s get it done before we un out of time.
Sept. 18: Tampa Bay Rowdies @ Nashville SC
Sept. 21: New York Red Bulls II @ Atlanta United 2. It’s just a four-hour drive, and since it’s the only game this day, we’ll finally make our way to Atlanta.
Sept. 22: Charleston Battery @ Nashville SC
Sept. 29: New York Red Bulls II @ Nashville SC
Oct. 6: Rio Grande Valley @ Tulsa Roughnecks. We haven’t made it to Tulsa yet, so here we are.
Oct. 9: Toronto FC II @ Nashville SC
Oct. 13: FC Cincinnati @ Nashville SC. We close out the season with a relaxing time at home with two games over the final week plus.
And with that, we’ve seen every home stadium in the USL. In fifty-eight games (including all 18 at home for NSC), we’ve traveled… a lot of miles. I won’t add it up.
Obviously this travel itinerary isn’t reasonable to fit in – at least not on anybody’s personal dime – but is anybody planning to travel to see some “neutral” games from a Nashville SC perspective this USL season?