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Normalcy Nearly Returns On and Off the Pitch at Battle of the Music Cities in Nashville

by Rich and Laura Lynch

Strike up the band and sing out a happy tune. In the battle of natural MLS rivals from Music City (Nashville SC) and the Live Music Capitol of the World (Austin FC) the fans were the big winners even as the home squad came away victorious with a solid 1-0 tally against the upstart footballers from the heart of Texas on May 23, 2021.

The final score was - Nashville SC 1, Austin FC 0.

Why exactly you ask? Well, for starters, Covid restrictions were scaled back to pre-pandemic levels and that meant that more bodies could get in through the gates at Nissan Stadium. This resulted in more vendors being set up inside who were doing a swift business mainly in the sale of Nashville SC apparel and memorabilia - a trend that began last year at their impressively attended franchise home opener in February before the world shut down.

One fine item we were coveting from the press box was the special game day poster created by Hatch Show Print with limited editions available exclusively at Nissan Stadium for $12 to serve as a perfect memento for this historic first match between the two musical cities.

The second Nashville SC season continues with head over heels action at Nissan Stadium.

More fans attending the game also resulted in an expanded "Backline Roadies" supporter section that increased by nearly four times since the previous home game. This impressive mass of gold and blue festooned backers of the "Boys in Gold" could be seen and heard throughout the stadium.

The only knock on them for this match is that many of the newbies were perhaps unfamiliar with the chants and the pacing of the non-stop exhalation and praise for their team as dictated by the core group of the die-hard leaders who have been there throughout the restricted period. But, this will gel better in time. The new fans in this section were still in pre-season mode after all.

With this game in the books Nashville's stingy defense hasn't let up a goal in over 400 minutes.

The rollback of Covid era rules also allowed for a time honored tradition to return to the Nissan Stadium parking lot - tailgating. A festive pre-game atmosphere unfolded in the shadow of the Nashville skyline with fans gathering for soccer-themed games, barbecues and group meet-ups.

While not as large and care-free as the opening day party for the 2020 season - the last time tailgating for Nashville SC took place here - the spirit was in tact and hopes were high as backers embraced a chance to emerge from their homes to experience a more normal atmosphere in Mid-Tenn.

Tailgating and an expanded supporter section returned to Music City.

When MLS executives, the owners of Nashville SC and city public officials originally got behind the idea of awarding Music City a franchise in the growing soccer league they no doubt understood the draw of Nashville as a hot tourist destination. One of the goals included welcoming footy fans to show off all this town has to offer. So, it was amazing to see a large contingent of rival supporters clad in green and black make their way into the stadium.

In fact, there were several hundred Austin FC aficionados prominently seated in one section and raucously cheering for their first year team. We met several of them on the concourse and they all described Nashville as being incredibly friendly adding that their own city has nothing on our community. Another win for us!

The role of music expanded with the relaxed restrictions in place.

We are Music City and Nashville SC fully appreciates the talented community that resides in the 615. Starting with this game a new musical element was added to the festivities to include a special half-time concert by rising star Jordan Davis and his five-piece band who delivered a fast-paced set perched high above the stadium. The game began with the National Anthem before Better Than Ezra frontman and Pilgrimage Festival co-founder Kevin Griffin performed the Gibson Guitar Riff before kickoff.

On the field the "Boys in Gold" continued to show off their stingy defense and by the conclusion of the match they had tallied over 400 consecutive minutes without allowing a goal. The offense continued to miss opportunities to close on breakaways but Randall Leal's poke into the back of the onion bag in 35th minute held up to see Nashville move to 2-0-4 with 10 overall points thanks to the victory - moving them to fourth place in the East while surging in the league's power rankings.

A large contingent of Austin FC fans traveled to Nashville for the match.

Related Links: For more information on NASHVILLE SC and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links -- Nashville SC | Building a Real Soccer-Based Community in Music City with Nashville SC | It' Soccer Time in Music City with Nashville SC | Nashville SC Begins Second MLS Season in Music City | Nashville SC Enjoys a Season Full of Highlights in Music City | Nashville SC Scores a Spooky and Successful Inaugural Season in Music City | Nashville SC Leaps Up to the Major Leagues in Music City | Nashville SC Plant Their Flag | Nashville SC Steps Up to the Big Time


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