Nashville SC Begins Home-Heavy Stretch Run with Clash against Birmingham Legion FC
NASHVILLE - For most of this season, Nashville SC has been hitting the road over and over again. The longest stretch of consecutive home matches so far this season came in May when the club played three straight home matches at First Tennessee Park between May 8 and May 18.
With just six matches left in the season, the Boys in Gold will finally have the chance to make a stand at home. Five of those six remaining matches will come at home for Nashville SC, starting with Tuesday night's showdown with Birmingham Legion FC, presented by the Ashton Real Estate Group.
That kind of home-heavy schedule couldn't have come at a better time.
"I think we're all desperately keen to finish off the season on a really good note at home," Head Coach Gary Smith said. "Our away form has been terrific. We've got this glut of games at home to finish up. When we looked at it when the schedule was first put out, I think we all looked and felt that would be brilliant. We finish up in good confines and comfortable surroundings. But it comes with some added pressure now. You've got some very good teams coming into town, and of course with the position we're in, it's still a precarious one for champions in the Eastern Conference, for a top four finish, or even outside of that. The only way that we can be assured of something more positive is to keep winning games. That's certainly what we aim to do Tuesday."
Tuesday night's match will be Nashville SC's first in 10 days since a disappointing defeat on the road at Saint Louis FC. The lengthy time off has allowed Nashville to step back for a bit and make the adjustments necessary to return to form.
"I think this 10-day break has come at a good time," Smith said. "There were a lot of emotions after the Saint Louis game. Lot of frustration and disappointment for sure. We certainly weren't at our best and Saint Louis did a very good job of taking care of business for their third game in a week. I think we've had enough time to study and have a look at some of the things that were not right on the day after being on a very good run. We've had a bit of time for rejuvenation and to get some of those tired legs in very warm weather in the right place. We've had plenty of time in terms of preparation for this important game on Tuesday."
The match could also mark the returns of both midfielder Derrick Jones and forward Daniel Ríos, who have both faced injuries. Jones has been out since May after suffering an injury in a U.S. Open Cup match against Charleston Battery, while Ríos has missed the last few matches due to injury. Smith indicated that the pair of them could get the chance to see some action on Tuesday night.
Jones is excited to have the chance to play again soon, even if it isn't against Birmingham.
"Whatever I bring, it doesn't really matter if we don't play as a team," Jones said. "I guess I'm going to come in and work hard and try to win games for the team."
While Nashville SC has been a dominant road side so far this season, the club's home form has not been up to the same level. Ríos hopes that changes with more time at home in the final stretch of the regular season.
"Winning games," Ríos said. "The way to change that, winning four of the five we have would change everything. We've been better on the road, but we have five more games at home. That's a lot we can change if we win three or four games."
Kickoff for Tuesday night's match is scheduled for 7 p.m. at First Tennessee Park. Tickets are available for just $11, along with other fan-friendly pricing deals.
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