Nashville SC US Soccer

Pitch Points has numbers to back up arguments

Welcome to Pitch Points, wherein I make irregular roundups of links of interest to Nashville SC and US Soccer. If you don’t already follow the site on social channels, do so @ClubCountryUSA on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Big data, big money. DC United has promoted its stat guru to the position of Technical Director. Your miileage may vary in terms of how important analytics are to success on the field (and while I’m a massive fan of that into-the-weeds stuff, I’m well aware that it’s not the be-all and end-all), but there’s no denying that professional franchises are seeing and recognizing that it can play a massive role in taking their teams to the next level.

All that said, unless the position of technical director is a slightly different scope than we’re used to seeing (and it probably is, with DC’s General Manager more in the traditional TD role), someone with a non-soccer background holding that title is a little odd.

Meanwhile, Nashville hired a director of analytics away from Opta, one of the industry-leading firms in the soccer market when it comes to Big Data (the only other one that immediately springs to mind is StatsBomb, but there are a couple others, including more niche ones):

This one has been in the works for a while, and is a massive statement of intent from NSC when it comes to data science and analytics – which, as expressed above, I’m obviously in favor of. The club is also searching for a couple data scientists to join his department. If you have a background in that field and interest in working for Nashville Soccer Club, reach on out.

OPS_S (Other People’s #Stadium_Stuff). FC Cincinnati’s negotiations for their West End stadium site seemed to be far less problematic from a local government perspective than Nashville’s, but it appears the trouble was simply backloaded. The club is facing criticism for displacing residents of a couple buildings they’ve bought and hope to re-zone. Might not be a huge problem (if still a bad look) otherwise, but they’d previously promised not to force those displacements. Oops.

Chattanooga Red Wolves’ stadium will be built in the East Ridge neighborhood of town. That’s the more Georgia-proximal portion, a little ways away from downtown. Surely Chattanooga FC sees this as a win – and probably should, with their downtown location far more desirable – but it may also play a role in allowing both clubs to survive a bit long with less direct geographic competition, at the very least.

This will bring up the time-honored “the developer is just in it for the money” argument (it came up in Nashville’s process as well), which is a bad argument. I don’t walk up to the people who make said argument complaining “hey, you’re just in this job for the money, and yes I’d like to Super-Size that,” which is effectively the same thing. People do jobs because they get paid for them, that’s not rocket science.

PhillySoccerPage on Derrick Jones. Plenty on Nashville’s latest USL/MLS signing (since David Accam fills only the second half of that combo):

Derrick Jones has never demonstrated long-range offensive distribution from the defensive central midfield. He is neither Vince Nogueira, Haris Medunjanin, nor James Chambers. His offensive contributions come from the dribble – at the USL level he has become a formidable threat to carry the ball into the attack – and from short-distance combination play. But he is not the complete number six the organization wants at that spot…

He is an effective ball winner capable of holding it successfully against multiple opponents combining to pressure him. But he does not have the full range of offensive skills in the consistency and frequency the organization wants, the long-range passing dimension.

Now that we have a couple games’ worth of on-field evidence in Gold, we’re in more a confirmation mode than a “learn about this guy’s game” mode, but I’d say it’s confirmation indeed of what we’ve seen. A little more down on his long-distance passing than w2e have evidence of so far, but that’s more in comparison to other NSC options – Wil Trapp he ain’t.

Capturing a Hispanic audience. Philadelphia gots problems. Nashville has done a much better job recently, particularly with the signing of Daniel Ríos, but you’d always like to see more. The video series they’ll be doing where he tours teammates to camiónes de tacos is pretty cool, and a good way to engage the Nolensville corridor, at least a bit:

There’s always more to do (especially, uh, “not viewing ‘hispanic audience’ as a singular monolithic entity,” which I sort of did in this bullet point, so great job, Tim), but thankfully Ríos at the very least is a guy with not only on-field ability but great personality – which can really help.

Please start a Spanish-language Twitter account tho.

Love tactical talk. Talked a bit about possession in The Graphical following the Charlotte game. Here’s a deeper dive on it:

 If the possession profile of a team changes based on the scoreline, then it seems like there’s some kind of strategic opportunity in there. Maybe it’s that teams should make a concerted effort to keep more possession once they take the lead — fewer opportunities for your opponent and given their increasing desperation, perhaps all the wild chasing would tire them out even more? Or maybe it’s that the aggressive play of the trailing team makes it especially difficult to hang onto the ball, and so the leaders should suddenly start playing a way more direct style once they go up a goal in order to get that incredibly valuable second.

You can assign value to any aspect of the game you want – and any team’s correlation between a particular metric and success on the field is certainly going to be variable (and proprietary) – but getting deep into the weeds on this stuff, at least from an observer’s perspective, is more about fun. Unless you have great insight and proficiency in programming languages, in which case see the above bullet point and apply to work for Nashville SC.

Etc.: In the community. … This is now (very) old news, but Sounders Academy wins the GA Cup. … Nashville SC in the future for Mexico MNT keeper Memo Ochoa? … Former Rowdies standout Georgi Hristov launches a youth league in Tampa. … Connor Sparrow poddin’ his path2pro. … Plenty of Liga MX news, including a bi-national tournament including four MLS sides. … NSC visited Minnesota United to get some stadium ideas.

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