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Nashville SC Wrestles With the Refs and the LA Galaxy at Heartbreaking Draw in Music City

by Rich and Laura Lynch

Nashville SC CEO Ian Ayre wasn't putting on airs when we saw him on the concourse immediately following the final whistle in his team's agonizing 1-1 draw against the LA Galaxy at GEODIS Park on September 10, 2022. In fact, he looked downright disturbed on his way to the player's locker room as were the 28,000 fans in attendance who just witnessed the Boys in Gold settle for a single point in a penalty ridden late season match against their Western Conference rivals.

At least Tempo the Coyote was victorious in his battle against the LA Galaxy.

Fittingly, there was a bit of a strange vibe at the stadium leading up to the kickoff. First, rain threatened to dampen the spirits of fans and players until it ultimately lightened and cleared for the whole second half. Before the game we were restricted from entering the team store while local authorities "swept" the premises and next we observed two snipers in the stairwell heading to take their position on the roof of the largest soccer specific stadium in the nation.

We only learned later that two special guests were the reason for these extra security measures as Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner were seen seated in the owner's box to observe the day's crucial proceedings on the pitch.

League MVP and Golden Boot candidate - Hany Mukhtar.

Ivanka and Jared are no strangers to controversy and the occasional conspiracy theory directed their way so the powerful pair must have felt right at home as the events that unfolded in the game's final seconds snatched victory from the hand's of the hometown heroes. Deja vu, anyone?

Of course, things started out in a much more festive and promising manner as the 10th was Hispanic Heritage Night that highlighted local Hispanic communities and raised funds in support of the Tennessee Latin American Chamber of Commerce (TLACC). Nashville SC has released a special edition Hispanic Heritage Month patch with all it's proceeds going to TLACC.

Goalkeeper Joe Willis was the player of the game despite letting in the last second penalty kick.

GEODIS Park featured a variety of performances by Hispanic artists and musicians including Mariachi Olimpico (Opening Act), Stephanie Urbina Jones & The Honky Tonk Mariachi (National Anthem and Halftime Show), Catalina (GEODIS WeHo Club) and Antonio Salazar (Guitar Riff). Antonio riffed on the official Delgado Guitar created by Manuel Delgado from remnants of GEODIS Park materials pulled during construction of the stadium.

The pre-game mascot wrestling match that was also part of the theme night pitted the much loved Tempo the Coyote versus his rival from the Galaxy in a ring set-up outside of Gate A. As the rain came down the Nashville SC furry fan favorite grabbed hold of the belt and bragging rights to begin his reign as champion after a hard fought, five round victory over the depleted and defeated Cozmo - all while Soccer Moses and other team celebrities joined in the celebration.

New faces on the pitch - Teal Bunbury.

As for the MLS contest - around the 27th minute a handball penalty was handed to LA which resulted in a battle between the Galaxy's goalie with no protection and a kicker who has the advantage in this situation. Hany Mukhtar (Midfielder) who is in strong contention for the Golden Boot was able to score the goal that put Nashville up by one. Hany has been on a roll. He was named August's Player of the Month and the stats indicate that he contributes to about 66% of the team's goals. Mukhtar is a star who we did notice took time to sign some autographs as he was exiting the field on the 10th.

As of Saturday, Nashville was in fourth place for their division which means they have a chance to go to the playoffs so a win was essential. Both teams were playing aggressively which resulted in a lot of yellow cards throughout the afternoon. LA dominated time of possession especially in the second half but Nashville's goalie Joe Willis who would be named player of the game valiantly defended the net despite plenty of shots on goal.

New faces on the pitch - Shaq Moore.

At the 90th minute Nashville was still up by one. Four minutes were added to regular time but as the clock ticked down Nashville was called out on their second handball penalty. Willis had already blocked one so the odds were not in his favor and sure enough LA scored so the battle ended in a tie! To add insult to injury Walker Zimmerman (Defender) was given his second yellow card of the game and received an ejection from the game during the extra time.

The sting of the day's dramatic turn of events was lessened just a bit when we met MLS soccer legend Cobi Jones in the press elevator immediately following the game. Jones now works for the Galaxy broadcast team. The former MLS All Star and U.S. National Team member has an impressive number of 164 CAPS to his credit - making him the all-time leader of the United States in appearances. Cobi reported to your intrepid MCN staff that this was his first time in Music City and he was very impressed with the stadium and how well the community and club have integrated together to put a winning product on the field. Well, except for today.

Nashville SC CEO Ian Ayre and his special guest Ivanka Trump; the Delgado Guitar.

Related Links: For more information on NASHVILLE SC and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - Nashville SC | Nashville SC Begins a New Chapter


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