Bethlehem Steel has transferred forward Brandon Allen to Nashville SC for an undisclosed fee, adding another piece of firepower for the Boys in Gold.
Allen’s two goals so far in 2017 (in seven appearances for the Steel) tie for the team lead, though both came in the season-opener against Richmond Kickers. He has 362 total minutes played across his seven games (about 52 per showing), and has not appeared in the squad in the past two Steel games – nor did he come off the bench in the one prior to that.
Of course, this year isn’t the only data we have on Allen. He got 1,090 minutes in 15 contests for New York Red Bulls II last year (and was with the senior squad a couple times, though he didn’t make any MLS appearances). In that time, he had nine goals – eight with the left foot and one with the right, which I believe makes him Nashville’s first predominantly left-footed striker – though they have players at other levels of the defense with strong lefts (Taylor Washington and Justin Davis among them). He took 21 shots – making for a pretty solid conversion rate – and won 12 fouls while committing 18. He had a 77.2% pass success rate, pretty good for a striker whose main job is to get goals. He was loaned to Minnesota United for a one-game appearance (making him the third member of the Loons on this NSC roster, and second added today).
It was 2016 when he made his biggest impact, earning USL Rookie of the Year for NYRBII. He played 2,538 minutes over 32 appearances, scored 21 goals (and added five assists) and was first-team all-league.
“Brandon Allen has got a fabulous scoring record as a 24-year-old, not only are his statistics spot-on for where you would want a center forward to be, he’s young, he has tremendous potential, he also fits what we’re about as well.
“If the only thing you need him to do is sit in the 18 yard box, take a touch or two and shoot, awesome get. If you need him to create for himself or play defense, bad idea.”
That… that sounds like what Nashville needs, right? We’ve consistently seen the team create chances, but fail to finish them. When you combine a goal-getter like Allen with guys like Ropapa Mensah, Lebo Moloto, Alan Winn, and Taylor Washington (obviously only one of the out-and-out strikers would be playing with him – and we’ll see if the addition of a forward changes the tactics in some way), that’s a good recipe.
In the short-term, it might be harmful to the playing time of other guys who are goal-getters more than creators, such as Robin Shroot or Michael Cox, but there are plenty of minutes to go around (especially if NSC’s Cup run continues) that all will play.
Here’s a quick highlight from the USL’s 2016 awards of him dunking the ball after decent setups. Here are highlights of NYRBII’s championship game victory in which he scored a hat trick. There are a ton of single-game highlight reels in which he’s featured.
A four-year player at Georgetown, he was a finalist for the Hermann Award (best player in college soccer) as a senior, capping his third consecutive All-America season. He also joined the Baltimore Bohemians of the PDL during his college career.
With the success he’s already had, his fit on the team, and his relatively young age (he won’t turn 25 until October), there’s likely a huge role for him to play with this team, and this is a major signing.