Atlanta United spoiled the party on a historic night in Nashville SC's first-ever MLS match, riding goals from Ezequiel Barco and Emerson Hyndman to a 2-1 victory at Nissan Stadium in front of a crowd of 59,069 onlookers -- a Tennessee state record for a soccer match.
Walker Zimmerman scored the first goal in Nashville's MLS history in the 28th minute to pull the home side level following Barco's opener, but Hyndman's rocket finish in the 37th minute would ultimately stand as the difference.
Barco put the visitors on top in just the ninth minute, slotting a well-taken curling finish from just outside the penalty box into the corner of the net off a feed from Franco Escobar, putting Nashville in an early hole.
But the home side would respond to the early adversity with a leveler from Zimmerman, who headed down a free kick from Hany Mukhtar in front of goal and slotted home his ensuing shot past Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan, notching the first goal in Nashville club history and sending the home crowd into a frenzy.
Hyndman would put Atlanta back on top just nine minutes later, however, controlling a clearance attempt inside the area with his chest and scorching a highlight-reel volley into the net, giving the Five Stripes a 2-1 lead they would take into the halftime break.
Atlanta were hit with an unsettling injury scare in the second half, when superstar forward Josef Martinez appeared to suffer a leg injury while chasing the ball. Martinez initially tried to stay in the match, but went down again shortly after and eventually was carried off the field on a stretcher. His status will be the big story to follow in the days ahead.
Nashville had perhaps its best look at the equalizer in the 78th minute off a laser shot from Randall Leal, but the attempt clanged off the near post and Atlanta would eventually see out the 2-1 final.
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- 9' - ATL - Ezequiel Barco | WATCH
- 28' - NSH - Walker Zimmerman | WATCH
- 37' - ATL - Emerson Hyndman | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: A win would have made it picture perfect, but it was still a massive historic occasion for Nashville SC, and the scene at Nissan Stadium lived up to the hype with a star-studded cast of pregame musical performances and a lively atmosphere throughout the match. They held their own on the field, too, managing not to fold after Barco's early goal and giving themselves a fighting chance at a result against an always tough opponent. For Atlanta, it's a good three points on the road as they begin juggling their league campaign with their Concacaf Champions League obligations, but any extended absence for Josef Martinez would obviously be a massive blow.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: It didn't come in a winning effort, but it has to be Zimmerman's goal, which provided the home crowd with an unforgettable moment of history.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Hyndman gets the honors for this one, with his goal standing out as both the prettiest highlight of the evening and as the game-winning tally.