Garza_NashvilleRecap TOURNAMENT ALERT: ATLANTA UNITED EARNS 3-1  RAINY VICTORY IN NASHVILLE PRESEASON FRIENDLY
ATLANTA UNITED FC

It was a rain-filled Saturday in Nashville, but no one was steered away from the inaugural game in Nashville SC history as they hosted Atlanta United at First Tennessee Park in front of over 9,000 fans. After a full 90 minutes of physical play and battling the elements, the Five Stripes emerged with a 3-1 victory to start their 2018 season on the right foot.

Head coach Tata Martino elected to start a mix of regulars of his 2017 side and some new faces for their first preseason friendly of the year, including the debuts of MLS veteran Sal Zizzo, U.S. international Darlington Nagbe and league record-signing Ezequiel Barco. With the absence of skipper Michael Parkhurst, Jeff Larentowicz sported the captain’s armband for the match. The full Atlanta United Staring XI: Brad Guzan (GK), Greg Garza (LB), Leandro González Pirez (CB), Jeff Larentowicz (CB), Sal Zizzo (RB), Darlington Nagbe (CM), Chris McCann (CM), Miguel Almirón (CAM), Ezequiel Barco (LM), Julian Gressel (RM), and Josef Martinez (ST).

The game started off as expected, gritty and wet, but it was Atlanta who conjured up the majority of the chances in the first 45 minutes. The first of the opportunities came in the 14th minute when a beautiful build up play from Almirón and Barco led to a lay off from Gressel which saw Nagbe bang his shot off the post and just wide.

The 18-year-old Barco was electric, constantly involved in the attack in the first half. He nearly opened his scoring account with the Five Stripes after Almirón slid a pass into the opponent’s penalty area, but Barco’s attempt skipped inches wide of the far post. Minutes later he displayed his ability to create as he threaded the Nashville back line with a penetrating pass right into the path of Josef Martinez, who blasted a shot off the goalkeeper from a tight angle.

 

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