Nashville is invested in this World Cup like none before

Soccer fans react as they watch the U.S. Men's National Team play against Wales during the World Cup watch party at Geodis Park on Nov. 21, 2022 in Nashville, Tenn.

I guess it goes without saying how one of Nashville SC’s players made an impact for the United States in Monday’s World Cup game in Qatar.

If you watched with the rest of the world, you saw it.

You saw Nashville quarterback Walker Zimmerman make the deeply regrettable decision to tackle a Welsh player with his back to goal. You saw how weak the fight was. You saw that the referee awarded a penalty kick. Then you saw Gareth Bale convert that penalty into a game-saving goal for Wales.

I can’t say Zimmerman’s foul cost the US because the Americans didn’t lose. It just felt that way. A 1-1 draw was a disappointing result after leading the football for nearly 45 minutes before conceding a penalty in the 82nd minute.

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So at GEODIS Park — where I proudly joined Nashville SC fans all afternoon to watch and cheer for Zimmerman — the vibe was muted.

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That’s what sports can be, y’all.

More than ever, Nashville has shown that it is a part of this World Cup like never before.

Zimmerman is on the US men’s national team with Nashville SC teammate Shaq Moore, who is not playing for Wales.

When Bale made his MLS debut for LAFC last summer, it was at GEODIS Park. We knew at the time that Bale would lead Wales in a much-anticipated World Cup match against the USA.

Wales' Gareth Bale appeals for a penalty after being fouled by American Walker Zimmerman during the World Cup Group B soccer match between USA and Wales at the Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium in Doha, Qatar.  Monday, November 21, 2022. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

The USA failed to qualify in 2018, which means our men’s national team last competed in the World Cup in 2014.

Here’s a look at what’s happened in Nashville since then.

We have a Major League Soccer franchise. We have a new football stadium at the fairgrounds and as a result more and more locals are being introduced to the beautiful game.

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