As one of the two new franchises to join MLS in 2020, Nashville SC’s introduction has been somewhat overshadowed by the hype surrounding Mr Beckham and his Inter Miami. So we headed stateside to get a taste of the action at the Nissan Stadium, making Nashville’s MLS debut against Atlanta United the focus of the latest instalment of our ‘Framed’ series.

It was a historic night for Nashville SC as they prepared for their first-ever MLS match, and their supporters did not let them down. 59,069 fans piled into the Nissan Stadium, scarves waving high through the yellow smoke billowing across the stands, ready to witness a piece of history. But Atlanta weren’t ready to let this party continue beyond the 90 minutes. This was the opening match of the 2020 campaign after all, and they have ambitions to return to the perch they held in 2018. Despite picking up the win though, the night didn’t go according to their plans either...

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Ezequiel Barco was the first to dampen the home fans' spirits; his clever feint found him in space on the edge of the area from which he was able to slot into the bottom corner. 0-1 within the opening 10 minutes. But then in the 28th minute the excellently-named Walker Zimmerman wrote himself into the Nashville history books. Sure it wasn’t the tidiest of goals – the defender toe-poking the ball past Brad Guzan – but he didn't care and neither did the thousands of fans that were sent into raptures. This was what they came to see.

Their elation was short-lived, for within 10 minutes Emerson Hyndman had restored Atlanta’s lead; a fantastic strike following some confusion regarding the offside flag. However sweet that strike was for the travelling supporters though, it was ruined later in the game by the sight of their talismanic striker Josef Martinez crumpled on the deck – news since confirming that the Venezuelan had torn his ACL. To call this man Atlanta’s MVP is something of an understatement. Would Atalanta trade the win for the fitness of their striker? Probably. As it was, both teams ended the match with a sour feeling, however with the almost impossible search now on for a replacement for Martinez, it will likely be Nashville who will feel more positive going forward.  

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Photography by Grace Stufkosky for SoccerBible.