NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - The Nashville Soccer Club will host its first MLS playoff game Friday night in what will be the next step for an organization that's had an exceptional inaugural campaign.
"I haven't once gone into a game this year looking at us as an underdog," Nashville SC Captain Dax McCarty said. "I have looked at us being on a level playing field with every single team we've played against."
That mentality helped the Nashville Soccer Club finish seventh in the Eastern Conference and earn a playoff spot.
In fact, they're actually favored to beat Inter Miami CF Friday night. The two teams have met twice this year, with Nashville coming away with one win and one draw.
"They'll be dangerous, there's no doubt about it," says Nashville SC Head Coach Gary Smith. "We're not taking this game lightly and shouldn't be."
Nashville made its mark this season on defense, allowing the fewest goals by an expansion club in MLS history. Its top acquisition, Walker Zimmerman, won the MLS Defender of the Year award.
"Really excited. And to do it this year," Zimmerman said. "It just means a lot because we've all worked so hard on our own, and there's been a lot of work behind the scenes."
"I don't think there's any doubt who the best defender in the league is, and it's an honor that's well deserved for him," McCarty added.
In an inaugural campaign, the likes of which no one could've expected, Nashville SC plugged along through the uncertainty and found its identity.
Friday night, the guys return to Nissan Stadium for their most meaningful game yet.
"I think we've been in really good form, and our spirit is good," Smith said.
"You know, in these types of matches, it's one moment that could change it. It's something we've been doing all year, so just lean against that a little bit," Zimmerman said.