Atlanta United prepares for Nashville SC, MLS Rivalry Week


Atlanta United heads to Nashville for the first in the club's slate of 2024 rivalry matches. On Saturday, Atlanta United faces Nashville SC at GEODIS Park. The match starts a little earlier with an afternoon kickoff scheduled for 1:45 p.m.

Several members of Atlanta United spoke about expectations for Saturday. Here are some of the storylines as we head into the first rivalry match of 2024:

Stian Gregersen

Stian Gregersen spoke to the media on Friday. The Norwegian joined the club this past offseason and will be going into his first MLS Rivalry match this weekend.

Gregersen has missed some time due to injury, but saw the pitch in the team's midweek match at FC Cincinnati. Although Pineda said he'd have to check his minutes before confirming if Gregersen will start, there's a good chance the center back sees some action Saturday.

"The impact mentally for the team is huge," Pineda said. "It's a different vibe when he's on the field."

Head coach Gonzalo Pineda

Head coach Gonzalo Pineda also spoke to the media on Friday before the team departed for Nashville. His team is currently enduring a tough run of form, looking for their first win in MLS play since March 31.

Pineda said that he wants to see fight and confidence out of his players. And a good chance arrives for them Saturday. It's a short road trip as the group travels to Tennessee. Their opponent, Nashville SC, is going through a difficult run of their own with just three MLS wins on the season.

"With all due respect to Nashville because they're a great team, great club, great organization, tomorrow is about us," Pineda said. "I put everything, all the emphasis, on the players. It's about us, us thinking and living in the present."

Dax McCarty

MLS veteran Dax McCarty knows what it's like to play in an MLS rivalry match. The 19-year veteran has plenty of experience, including playing in the Southeast rivalry between Nashville and Atlanta. McCarty was part of Nashville's inaugural roster when the club made its MLS debut in 2020. The first-ever team Nashville played? Atlanta United.

"When rivalries happen on the field, and you can feel that tension and you can feel that hatred, that’s the best.”

Listen to the latest episode of the History of Atlanta Soccer podcast or read more in our Behind The Stripes piece.

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