NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Southeastern rivalry match saw Atlanta take the first salvo with a 2-1 over expansion club Nashville SC in Music City. Ezequiel Barco turned NSC defender Eric Miller to score the opening goal in the ninth minute, but Nashville responded with a 28th-minute goal on a set piece from Walker Zimmerman.
The Five Stripes responded with an Emerson Hyndman volley in the 37th, and that stood as the game-winner in front of 59,069 fans.
Barco’s strike was the first scored in an MLS game featuring Nashville SC. The young Argentine winger accepted a pass from Franco Escobar before a miscommunication between Nashville’s Miller and David Accam allowed him in on goal. He made no mistake, slotting past NSC keeper Joe Willis.
It was Zimmerman, though, who will go into the Nashville SC history books. A Hany Mukhtar free kick from the edge of the penalty area landed on the head of Zimmerman, and while that initial shot was unable to head toward the frame, he managed to put a right-footed poke on the ball to score the first-ever Nashville SC goal in MLS.
Hyndman’s winner came after a corner kick, with a failed clearance from the head of Nashville midfielder Anibal Godoy reaching only the edge of the area. The US Youth International blasted a right-footed volley to give Atlanta the win.
The second half was a back-and-forth affair, with Nashville earning plenty of opportunities to level the scoreline, but the Boys in Gold couldn’t find the breakthrough, thanks in no small part to three saves – albeit not many difficult ones – from keeper Brad Guzan.
Expectations for Nashville in the preseason have been meager, but going toe-to-toe with an expected Supporter’s Shield contender may give NSC a bit more juice heading into the meat of the schedule. A trip to Portland beckons March 8, with the team still looking for its first points in the MLS table.
- 9′ ATL GOAL – 8 Ezequiel Barco (left foot), assisted by 2 Franco Escobar
- 28′ NSH GOAL – 25 Walker Zimmerman (right foot, rebound)
- 37′ ATL GOAL – 20 Emerson Hyndman (right-footed volley)
- 45’+2 Half time
- HT ATL Substitution – On 27 Laurence Wyke, Off 2 Franco Escobar
- 65′ NSH Substitution – On 19 Alan Winn, Off 11 David Accam
- 69′ ATL Substitution – On 14 Adam Jahn, Off 7 Josef Martinez (hamstring injury)
- 76′ ATL Yellow card – 5 Eric Remedi (hand ball)
- 79′ NSH Substitution – On 7 Abu Danladi, Off 9 Dominique Badji
- 81′ ATL Substitution – On 18 Jeff Larentowicz, Off 10 Pity Martinez
- 87′ NSH Substitution – On 14 Daniel Ríos, Off 8 Randall Leal
- 90’+4 NSH Yellow card – 1 Joe Willis (hand ball)
- 90’+6 Full time