I’ve been writing for World Soccer Talk since May, 2014. As you may know, I mainly handle match previews of US Men’s National Team games, but I also write stories about attendances and TV ratings. This past Tuesday, I was afforded the opportunity of being able to go to Nashville to cover the USA-Mexico game in person for World Soccer Talk. It was a fantastic experience and I certainly hope to be able to do it again in the future.
Here’s a not so brief rundown of the sights and sounds of being on the ground to cover the match.
Several weeks ago I was able to drive up to Nashville to cover the press conference that US Soccer was having to promote this USA-Mexico game. The speakers were USMNT coach Dave Sarachan and the Mayor of Nashville, David Briley. They each said their bit and then opened the floor up for questions. Aside from myself, the only media members there were a local radio guy, a local TV station reporter, an Associated Press reporter and a presenter for Univision. Also present were three or four front office guys from Nashville’s USL team.
I got the opportunity to ask Sarachan a very direct question about Michael Bradley’s inclusion in the team going forward, and was pleasantly surprised to get a very direct answer to that question. After the official press conference was over, Sarachan pulled me aside to confirm that Christian Pulisic would be part of the roster for the two September friendlies (though he was later ruled out with injury). One thing that struck me about Sarachan is that he’s very personable and easy to talk to. We stood there for 15 or 20 minutes just chatting about a variety of things like the 2019 Gold Cup and reminiscing about how miserably hot it was at the Gold Cup in Nashville in 2017. By the time we left, it felt like we’d known each other for 20 years. I don’t know if he would be the right guy for the full-time position of US coach, but as a person, he’s first class.
On matchday, I arrived in the media parking lot at Nissan Stadium at around 3:15PM. Even though the game wasn’t scheduled to start until five hours later, there already were 2,500 to 3,000 Mexican fans in the parking lot tailgating and having a good time — for a friendly.