Monday 10 June 2024

Ground #403 - Geodis Park

Date: 1st June 2024
Location: Nashville, Tennessee, USA
Ground: Geodis Park

My third new ground of 2024 was on Saturday 1st June at Geodis Park in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. The game was Nashville vs. New England Revolution in Major League Soccer.

Geodis Park is three miles south of Nashville city centre just off I-65. The stadium is located in the Nashville Fairground site and forms part of a wider regeneration of the area with new apartment complexes under construction to the eastern and southern flanks of the stadium. Beyond these apartments to the east sits Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway which has hosted NASCAR in the past. The western side of Geodis Park backs onto the pre-existing housing estate and the northern end has an access road and a car park beyond. Passenger rail services do not pass near the ground but there is a bus shuttle service available. The venue has been home to the club since 2022 with them having spent their first two MLS seasons playing at the Nissan Stadium, home of the NFL side Tennessee Titans.

The ground is a standard US stadium set-up where fans can access any part of the stadium via the unobstructed concourses in between the upper and lower seating decks. Concessions line the back of the vast majority of the concourse areas only breaking briefly for fan entrances, toilets and club merchandise areas. The stadium has an upper and lower deck on three out of the four sides. The lower deck is a consistent bowl throughout though the northern stand is home to the ultras so there is bench seating directly behind the goal for this supporter base. Three of the four corners have no upper deck seating so the stands do feel separated. 

The western stand is the exception to the general venue design with the upper level split into two separate decks. For the northern third this sees two seating decks with hospitality boxes at the back with this format extending round the north-east corner to provide the only upper level seating at the venue. The southern two-thirds of this side has the same lower level arrangement but has club offices for the top level. 

The game saw an Eastern Conference meet-up between 9th place Nashville and bottom of the table New England. The visitors had experienced the worst start to the season of all 29 MLS sides collecting just seven points from their opening thirteen games. Nashville on the other hand were unbeaten in their last four games despite firing their manager. 90 seconds into the game the hosts went close when Sam Surridge nipped in front of his man to head Daniel Lovitz's cross just wide of the goal from 12 yards. The opening goal arrived in the 18th minute and was scored by New England through a moment of real quality. A crossfield ball was sent to Carles Gil on the right. He skipped inside, past two defenders, before whipping a curling shot into the bottom corner of the net from 20 yards. Nashville proceeded to spurn a great opportunity to equalise almost immediately. First, Tyler Boyd drilled a shot at away goalie Alijaz Ivacic from just inside the area. The keeper saved but the ball fell to Alex Muyl in the centre of the goal just six yards out. The Nashville player really should have scored but managed to hit the crossbar instead. The hosts were made to pay for this miss a few minutes into the second half. New England launched a counter-attack as Nashville pushed forward with Carles Gil unleashing Giocomo Vrioni down the left. He found Esmir Bajraktarevic on the right side of the box. The teenager had plenty of work to do with two defenders for company but he controlled the ball well, knocked the ball past both of them and smashed a shot past Joe Willis to put the visitors 2-0 up. As in the first half Nashville spurned a chance to respond immediately, this time from the penalty spot. It came about when a scramble saw Shaq Moore's shot blocked by Xavier Arreaga's arm resulting in the referee pointing to the spot and producing a red card. This was downgraded to a yellow card after a VAR review and Hany Mukhtar's penalty was then saved by Ivacic. With a quarter of an hour remaining the hosts were awarded their second penalty of the game when David Romney clipped Walker Zimmerman. This time Mukhtar made no mistake, going the same way but getting the ball closer to the bottom corner of the net as Ivacic dived the wrong way. Nashville laid siege to the away goal managing 26 shots throughout the course of the evening. They so nearly grabbed an equaliser in the 93rd minute when a Mukhtar's shot from 10 yards was deflected onto the foot of the post and cleared. The spin on the ball could easily have seen it go into the bottom corner of the net but the fact it hit the post instead summed up the Nashville's evening - luck was not on their side.

Result: Nashville 1-2 New England Revolution
Division: Major League Soccer
Attendance: 26,842

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