Nashville SC’s MLS campaign begins tomorrow. Hear about it from centerback Dave Romney and midfielder Anibal Godoy at NSC’s media availability.
How has the team come together over the course of preseason?
“We’ve grown a lot. Gary’s come in with a pretty strict system of how he wants to play offensively and defensively. I think after every week, we’ve seen ourselves take strides in being more organized, being where we’re supposed to be. Communication with me and Walker or Jalil, those guys next to me, has gotten a lot better and we really organize the guys in front of us, and I feel very confident as the season begins.”
Butterflies in the stomach?
“Yeah, of course. I’ve played in crowds bigger than this before, but never in an expansion team type of game, where it’s so important to the city. All of the butterflies will maybe be closest to my debut or a game like that. I feel confident and good about this one.”
How do you feel about playing in front of 50,000 fans for this one?
“It’s awesome. We’ve just got to put on a show.”
What do you remember from your debut, and how does it compare to this game?
“Leading up to it, really nervous the whole day. Once the ball drops, you just kind of forget about everything. Then my second game was like 93,000 against Barcelona, so I kind of got tossed in the fire there. But it was a lot of fun, and it definitely calmed you down once the ball drops.”
What’s the challenge of opening against a championship-caliber team?
“We’ve only played preseason games together; we’ve never been in the thick of a regular-season game, and those definitely have a different feel to them. Preseason games, you’re switching out guys, sometimes you’re playing against a second team, you don’t really know tactics-wise what the other team’s going to do going into it. It’s been nice to get some planning in, see how they play, they’ve gotten some good games underneath them in the Champions League, so that obviously helps them, but we’re ready to go.”
Are you expecting to get an extra burst of energy from the atmosphere?
“Any chance – and we’re going to get a chance in our attacking third – the crowd’s definitely going to get a little hyped, you’re going to hear a lot more fans. There’s always just that energy, and any time we’re going to be on the ball, we’re definitely going to hear it.”
Have you given some advice to some of the lesser-experienced players?
“I think most of the guys starting tomorrow night have some experience, and they can call on that, but I think this [expansion situation] is a first for maybe 10 out of the 11 guys i the lineup, so it’s just calling on the experience you have from playing in previous big games. I was fortunate enough to play in a couple MLS Playoff games last season. Those are the kind of games you take extremely seriously, and kind of how I’ll mentally prepare for this one.”
Is the nervousness good at this time of year?
“Yeah, it’s normal. This is the first game for the history here in Nashville, and for us. I know it’s a tough day tomorrow, but I think we have the support for tomorrow – I don’t know 50,000 or 60,000 – but that’s good for us.”
What does it say about the city’s support to get that many fans?
“It’s amazing, it’s amazing, it’s amazing. This is why I think it’s difficult for me tonight to sleep. I’ll try to sleep well tonight, because we’re waiting. I’ve waited for this day, obviously my family waited for this day. This is an important day for me and my family and my teammates. We were training for two months until now: we’re ready for the battle, we’re ready for tomorrow. We’ll give the best effort for this city.”
What are you expecting out of Atlanta?
“They have a good team, they have good players, they have quality players. We need to be smart and different because they have the top three on the top. They look to each other every time: Josef Martinez, Pity Martinez and Barco. They have short movements, quick players. This is why we need to be ready for this, and for us, our wingers and forward to try to attack and try to win the duels with Atlanta.”
Anibal Godoy photo by Tim Sullivan/For Club and Country