It’s a little odd to say Nashville SC, who hasn’t played their first game, already has a rival. No, it’s not Memphis who just got awarded a USL franchise for 2019. Congrats, but Nashville SC will only play them for a year. It will be a fun BBQ Cup though. No, the club’s main rival for now is FC Cincinnati. It makes sense. They were one of the four final cities competing with Nashville for an MLS franchise. Nashville won that. Many think FC Cincinnati will get the second MLS franchise, but it’s been a salty couple of weeks. Some fans were angry right after MLS announced Nashville SC as the next franchise as you see in the tweets below. Perhaps my favorite was from Queen City War Pigs who got into some back and forth with The Roadies. The FC Cincinnati enthusiasts pointing out the fact that not a single person has ever paid and attended a Nashville SC match. That’s true, but doesn’t mean there aren’t tens of thousands that will support the team when their new stadium opens in 2020.
When I sat down with Jason Petty and Graeme Young of Nashville SC recognized supporter’s group , The Assembly, last week they agreed that this season Nashville SC’s biggest rival would be FC Cincinnati. It’s only 270 miles between the cities a distance Young termed “close enough.” He also said assuming FC Cincinnati gets the 2nd franchise it is the start of a rivalry that can continue onto MLS. Easily drivable I would expect FC Cincinnati to bring the most road fans of any Nashville SC USL home match this year. The full 2018 USL schedule will be out next week so mark your calendar for that match. It should be fun to see. Just last week this FC Cincinnati fan was still triggered.
Oh don’t be angry Ben. It sucks to lose, but no need to hate on the winner. Of course there were many congratulatory tweets as well, but it was clear FC Cincinnati was the most bitter fan base.
With all that said, Nashville SC’s biggest rival in MLS is going to be Atlanta United. It is even closer than Cincinnati at just under 250 miles. The majority in the city have certainly made the drive before. A long running complaint for many residents of the Music City is “we don’t want to become Atlanta.” They worry about the extra traffic and higher prices that a big city brings. Nashville Atlanta just sounds like an SEC Championship, while Nashville Cincinnati sounds as if you are playing the Bengals. Of course, there is room for more than one, but Atlanta is going to be the big one. Atlanta United fans will love the trip to Nashville come in big numbers. As Joe Patrick of Dirty South Soccer wrote the day after the MLS franchise announcement,
“Nashville is impossible to hate. It’s the perfect weekend to load your friends into the car on a Friday afternoon, shoot up I-75 and I-24 to Nashville, and have a great weekend while getting a chance to do something you’re passionate about. What could be better than that?”
Nashville is like Atlanta’s better looking younger brother. Don’t be salty FC Cincinnati. You should have some great games this season versus Nashville SC and are the more likely side to start play in 2019 if you get a franchise. If that happens Nashville SC fans will say congrats while feeling bad for Sacramento. Atlanta, can’t wait to see you in person next month. It will be cold celebration for a lot of people. Until 2020 when the Sweet Tea Cup begins!