Boys in Gold headed to Murfreesboro for US Open Cup

Middle Tennessee’s campus.

From club release:

CHICAGO (April 17, 2019) – U.S. Soccer announced its 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Second Round pairings and host scenarios on Wednesday afternoon. As a part of the announcement, Nashville Soccer Club will play the winner of the First Round matchup between Chattanooga Red Wolves SC (USL League One) and South Georgia Tormenta FC 2 (USL League Two) on May 13 or 14.

Nashville SC will serve as the host team for the Second Round regardless of the matchup and intends to play its 2019 U.S. Open Cup matches on campus at Middle Tennessee State University. It will be the first home match for Nashville SC to take place outside the city of Nashville. The specific date and time of the match, as well as ticket information, have yet to be announced.

All 25 USL Championship clubs participating in the U.S. Open Cup, including Nashville SC, enter the competition in the Second Round. U.S.-based Major League Soccer clubs will enter the U.S. Open Cup in the Fourth Round.

Last season, Nashville SC was one of three USL Championship clubs to beat a Major League Soccer team in the U.S. Open Cup and advance to the Round of 16.

A few thoughts, since I know the decision to play at MTSU is going to be something of a lightning rod:

  • It’s a good move in the aggregate. NSC wants to have a footprint outside Nashville/Davidson, and getting exposure (even in an area where it may seem like they don’t need to work to get it) is a good idea.
  • Fans in Nashville, quite frankly, have forfeited the right to complain by not showing up for the team. Whether in last year’s Open Cup (2,077 for an intra-city rivalry, 1,047 for a third-round Open Cup game) or so far this season, the numbers haven’t been there. My intent is not to criticize the fanbase for no-shows – though it’s obviously not a good look in the grand scheme, either – but certainly there’s a forfeiture of right to complain when a game is moved elsewhere within the footprint. The numbers say you weren’t showing up if it was in your backyard, so whatever.
  • Given my opinion that an MLS2 side (likely in USL League One, and down the road) should be reasonably close to Nashville but outside of Davidson County, this could be an interesting test case to see if other venues in the region are feasible in the future.

Overall, the potential opponents (a USL League One team in Chattanooga, and South Georgia’s second team, playing in USL League Two – the former PDL) are interesting ones, though they should ultimately be (very) beatable.

If favorites were to hold, Nashville would face USL opposition – Charleston Battery, Charlotte Independence, or Tampa Bay Rowdies – in the third round of the tournament. Geographically, that’d likely be Charlotte (the closest geographically) or Tampa (with the two Carolina teams having the easiest possible travel).

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