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Nashville SC to host Atlanta United in inaugural MLS game

A new Southern rivalry to open the 2020 season.

Feb 10, 2018; Nashville, TN, USA; Nashville SC forward Michael Cox (9) tries to get around Atlanta United defender during the first half of the friendly at First Tennessee Park. (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)
Feb 10, 2018; Nashville, TN, USA; Nashville SC forward Michael Cox (9) tries to get around Atlanta United defender during the first half of the friendly at First Tennessee Park. (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

Nashville SC will begin life in Major League Soccer against a Southern rival. The expansion franchise will host Atlanta United in its inaugural MLS game Feb. 29, 2020. Kickoff from Nissan Stadium is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET, 7 p.m. local.

Broadcast information for the game has not been announced.

The teams previously met in a 2018 preseason friendly, ahead of Nashville’s first USL season and Atlanta’s second campaign in MLS. Atlanta prevailed 3-1 on a rainy February day. The 2020 MLS season opener will be their first competitive matchup.

“We are thrilled to announce that Nashville SC’s inaugural match will be played right here in Nashville in front of our hometown fans,” chief executive officer Ian Ayre said in a prepared statement. “February 29 will be a historic date for our club and we look forward to showcasing the city and our supporters to the entire league during the opening weekend of Major League Soccer’s 25th season.”

Nashville is coming off a second-place finish in the USL Championship’s Eastern Conference. The team advanced to the conference semifinals before falling to Indy Eleven. Nashville exited the U.S. Open Cup with a third-round loss to the Charleston Battery, another USL Championship side. 

After winning MLS Cup in 2018, Atlanta finished second in MLS’ Eastern Conference before falling 2-1 to Toronto FC in the conference final. Though they failed to defend their league title, the Five Stripes did win two trophies in 2019, prevailing over Mexican giant Club América in the Campeones Cup and 2017 expansion sibling Minnesota United in the U.S. Open Cup final.

Atlanta will open its 2020 season in Concacaf Champions League play Feb. 18 to Feb. 20. Its round-of-16 opponent will be determined via draw Dec. 9. 

The trip to Nashville is Atlanta’s second confirmed 2020 MLS game. The Five Stripes will travel to Chicago for the Fire’s first game at Soldier Field March 21.

David Beckham’s Inter Miami will join Nashville as a 2020 debutant. Miami’s inaugural MLS game has not been announced.

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