Nashville SC practice photos and impressions: Feb. 12, 2019

Nashville SC was inside for its practice session yesterday with more bad weather in the area. See a few shots of the action (plus some of my observations below) here:

 

Practice notes

  • As Gary Smith said in the press conference, absences from certain players in Florida (particularly MLS signings Cameron Lancaster and Daniel Ríos) were simple fitness issues as they return from minor injury. Both were training during the full-field portion.
  • The lack of midfielders on the active roster seems pretty palpable, but with the opportunity for true wingers to take two of those roles, even if they’re more conventionally forward-type players (Kharlton Belmar and Ropapa Mensah, especially, while Alan Winn fits the bill too, though he seems to have a natural midfield winger skillset, too), it doesn’t really manifest itself on the field.
  • That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if current trialist Vinnie Vermeer sticks with Nashville SC in practice at least through the early part of the season, with an opportunity to sign a deal if there’s a need for more central midfield help.
  • Along with that, Smith mentioned that he’s still thinking through various ways to get the winger talent and two strikers on the field at the same time, allowing both Ríos and Lancaster to play along with, say, Belmar and Winn. That’s a lot of attacking talent up front (though from my perspective, it honestly makes more sense to go with a lone striker, at least to start the year, and particularly if Ríos and/or Lancaster will take more time to get fit).
  • The lineups themselves in practice terms seem experimental at this point, with guys who seem more like depth players alongside some of the more experienced guys. Smith mentioned that’s in attempt to test out certain pairings/groupings on various parts of the field. I don’t think we’ll have a super-solid idea of the top XI until the first game – or beyond.
  • The pace of play in the practice sessions seems to have taken a major step forward just in the past week – that will naturally happen as guys shake off the offseason rust.

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