Atlanta United will begin its 2020 regular season Saturday against expansion side Nashville SC at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee. Kickoff is set for 8:00 p.m. ET, and fans can tune in on FOX.
Major League Soccer is back in action and celebrating its 25th season. The Five Stripes recently advanced to the quarterfinals of the Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League and will look to build on that momentum with a strong start to the regular season in Nashville. This will be the first regular season matchup between the two teams. Atlanta won a friendly (3-1) between the two teams in 2018 ahead of Nashville’s inaugural USL season.
Atlanta United (0-0-0)
Coming off a year in which it won both the U.S. Open Cup and the Campeones Cup, ultimately falling to Toronto FC in the MLS Cup Eastern Conference Finals, Atlanta United is well positioned for another competitive MLS season. With the addition of several new faces, the Five Stripes will be coming to Nashville with an attack-minded squad, eager to make an impact. Though the Five Stripes have struggled in the past with season openers (0-3-0 all time), it will be building on a strong performance during its 4-1 aggregate victory over F.C. Motagua in the opening round of the Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League.
Under second year head coach, Frank de Boer, the club will be looking to add more hardware to its trophy case. During the offseason, Atlanta United made several roster changes, adding players who bring a combination of speed, versatility, youth and experience. George Campbell became Atlanta United’s sixth Homegrown player when he signed with the team, having spent his entire career with Atlanta United 2 and the Atlanta United Academy. Adam Jahn, Edgar Castillo and Brooks Lennon are MLS veterans, while Fernando Meza, Jake Mulraney, Manuel Castro and Matheus Rossetto all come to Atlanta with international experience. Anton Walkes, who played for Atlanta United in 2017 and signed this offseason from Portsmouth, rounds out the changes to the 2020 roster. The Five Stripes attack will once again be led by its designated players and Ezequiel Barco. Josef Martinez and Pity Martinez each tallied two goals and two assists in the Concacaf Champions League series vs. F.C. Motagua.
Nashville SC (0-0-0)
This will be Nashville’s third season as a franchise, but its first in MLS. Its previous two seasons were spent in the USL Championship under the same name. Nashville’s roster is a combination of players making their MLS debut and experienced veterans. MLS veterans Dax McCarty and Walker Zimmerman highlight Nashville’s offseason acquisitions. Both bring several years of MLS and USMNT experience to the Music City. Avid MLS fans will also recognize Joe Willis, Jalil Anibaba, David Romney, Dominique Badji and David Accam all of whom boast several years of MLS experience.
Currently, Nashville are 3-1-2 in their preseason showings. As a USL Championship club, they qualified for their conference playoffs in 2019 and made it to the third round in the U.S. Open Cup before falling to Charleston Battery on penalty kicks.
Nashville will start its MLS campaign at Nissan Stadium with plans to move to a soccer-specific stadium in the coming years.