What to Watch for as Nashville SC Faces Houston Dynamo in Saturday Matinee
NASHVILLE- Nashville Soccer Club will put its four-match home unbeaten run to the test once again on Saturday afternoon against the Houston Dynamo this Saturday at 2:30 p.m. CT at Nissan Stadium.
The Boys in Gold will be looking to continue its positive momentum, having gone unbeaten at home since the restart in mid-August. They're coming off of a 1-0 win over D.C. United on Wednesday night.
Here's everything you need to know about Saturday's match.
Date: Saturday, Sept. 26
Time: 2:30 p.m. CT
Location: Nissan Stadium
TV: TUDN, Univision
English Radio: ESPN 94.9
Spanish Radio: El Jefe 96.7
Home Sweet Home - Nissan Stadium has been kind to Nashville SC since the season restarted in August. The Boys in Gold have yet to lose in four home matches since the regular season resumed, winning three and drawing one. Nashville has scored in each of its home matches this season dating back to the start of the season in February.
Head Coach Gary Smith says he hopes to see that home form continue.
"I think that the mindset that the team has when we are playing at home lately has been awesome," Smith said. "To continue it, we need to play well up front at home, and we will keep doing it. We are always trying to win the games and achieve the most points possible here and hit our mark."
Familiar Faces for Willis - Saturday's match will be a reunion for goalkeeper Joe Willis, who spent the last five seasons as the starting goalkeeper for the Houston Dynamo. Willis was acquired by Nashville in a trade with Houston on the night of the 2019 Major League Soccer Expansion Draft.
So far this season, Willis has been a stalwart for Nashville between the sticks. His five clean sheets in 12 matches ties the career he set with Houston in 26 matches in 2016. Willis has also allowed just 13 goals, good for sixth-best in the league so far this season.
Willis says he'll certainly feel something taking the pitch and seeing the orange jerseys come at his goal, but at the same time, he's fully committed to the task at hand for his club.
"It'll be a little emotional," Willis said. "It'll be nice to see some old familiar faces for sure. At the same time, Nashville is my home now. Houston is competition. Our objective is to make the playoffs and win games. Getting three points against every team is the objective. It'll be nice to see some old faces, but at the same time, we're going for three points."
Confidence is Key - Nashville SC is now 12 matches into an inaugural season unlike any other.
With limited training time and limited match experience going into the restart of the season, Nashville SC has been growing on the fly over the last two months. Despite the challenges, the Boys in Gold have put themselves in playoff position in ninth place with a 3W-1L-2D record in their last six matches. Smith says this Saturday's match against Houston won't be easy, but he also says his team continues to build its confidence as the season hits the home stretch.
"Every single game is going to be difficult," Smith said. "You have got teams coming in one-way shape and form -some terrific talent, creative individuals, top goal scorers in the league. Whatever area of the field you are looking at, you are looking at top class. So, there is no easy game here, that is the first thing. I think the guys have done a wonderful job of setting up a tempo without any fans and that momentum they can bring. I do believe they are growing in confidence game by game, and there is no doubt in my mind Houston is extremely effective with some wonderful frontline players. We have shown here that we are very, very, capable and I'm sure they will know they have got a tough task on their end."
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