Home Field Advantage Key In USL Playoffs

It's no secret that teams prefer playing at home. "It helps the continuity of the week," says Nashville SC head coach Gary Smith. "It's not just the match day. You get into a rhythm of how you're working. Guys get used to staying in their own bed and preparing in their own way at home. When this place has got a good crowd in it and some noise, it's as good as any."

Nashville SC are guaranteed home field advantage at least through the Eastern Conference semifinals this weekend, and depending on results around the league, they could have home field advantage all the way through to the USL Championship Final. That could be crucial in their attempt to win a trophy in their final season before moving up to Major League Soccer in 2020.

In the first two rounds of the USL Championship Playoffs, the home teams have been markedly more successful than the visitors. In the play-in and conference quarterfinal rounds, the home side has won eight out of the twelve matches. If a 75% win ratio wasn't enough, the home sides have outscored their opponents 28 to 16, scoring an average of 2.3 goals per match.

Going back even further, since the league started in 2011, the host teams have won 63 matches and lost just 31. The final has never been won by an away side.

Nashville SC have won their last four matches, all of which have been played at home. They'll look to continue their run against an Indy Eleven side that just kept New York Red Bulls II's conference-best attack off the board. With a win and help from Louisville City, Nashville would play the conference final at home.

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