Nashville SC signs San Jose Earthquakes’ Aníbal Godoy

Photo courtesy San Jose Earthquakes

Nashville SC’s fifth Major League Soccer signing is in. San Jose Earthquakes defensive midfielder Aníbal Godoy was acquired in exchange for $650,000 in General Allocation Money today. Godoy will officially join the Boys in Gold at the conclusion of the 2019 season, staying with San Jose until that time.

From Club release:

NASHVILLE (Aug. 7, 2019) – Nashville Soccer Club announced today it has added Panamanian midfielder Aníbal Godoy to its Major League Soccer roster from the San Jose Earthquakes in exchange for $650,000 in General Allocation Money. The 29-year old World Cup veteran will remain with the Earthquakes through the 2019 MLS season.

“Anibal is a talented player, and we are excited to add him to the club,” said Nashville SC General Manager Mike Jacobs.  “His ability to influence matches on both sides of the ball have made him an impact player in MLS and for his country.  As we continue to build our MLS roster, we are committed to establishing a blueprint for the present and the future of our club. Godoy offers veteran leadership and international experience that we will need in our pursuit of excellence on and off the field.”

In his four years in San Jose, Godoy has become the engine of the Earthquakes, playing a total of 8,481 minutes and reaching 99 appearances in MLS regular season play. A player who’s equally equipped in possession as he is defensively, he averages a 90% passing accuracy and more than 12 duels competed per game, ranking third and first, respectively, amongst all central midfielders in the league with as many appearances.

“I would like to thank the Earthquakes organization for helping me secure my future beyond 2019 and Nashville SC for believing in me as a player,” said Godoy. “I’m excited for my future with Nashville SC and helping the club make an immediate impact in MLS. Right now, I am very focused on achieving success with my teammates in San Jose this season.”

Internationally, Godoy has become a leader for Panama’s National Team with 99 caps. The Panamanian was instrumental in leading the squad that qualified and participated in the 2018 FIFA World Cup for the first time in nation’s history, as well as in reaching the Semifinals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2011, 2013 and 2015.

Godoy becomes the fifth MLS signing for the expansion side joining Ghanaian international David Accam, U.S. Men’s Youth international Derrick Jones, English forward Cameron Lancaster and Mexican youth international forward Daniel Ríos.

Follow Godoy’s journey with Nashville SC by becoming an MLS Season Ticket Member in the club’s inaugural season here or by calling a club representative at 615-750-8800.

The Panamanian international has 99 caps, and at 29 years old (and with an increase in competitive matches in the region thanks to the Concacaf Nations League), there’s an outside shot that he catches Gabriel Enrique Gómez’s 147 (Gómez, also a midfielder, has not appeared for Panama since 2018).

Godoy has been with the Earthquakes since midseason 2015, totaling 8,966 minutes across four total seasons (including the second half of 2015 and first half of 2019). He has averaged just under 2.0 xG per year, though 2018 and 2019 are on-pace to be his lowest and second-lowest outputs in that department. However, he is on pace for by far his highest expected assists total in 2019, around 2.8 if he plays the same proportion of his team’s minutes as he did before the all-star break (he missed much of June and July with injury) – his previous high was 1.8 in 2016.

He is most-known as a seek-and-destroy defensive midfielder, though, so his offensive contributions can be expected to fluctuate more by circumstance than by his own ability.

Under first-year coach Matías Almeyda (who joined from Mexican power C.D. “Chivas” de Guadalajara), the Quakes have made a massive on-year improvement. After suffering through four years without making the MLS playoffs at all, and falling in the knockout round last year, San Jose is third in the Western Conference, level with Minnesota United but behind on goal differential.

Godoy’s 2019 salary is $498,125, placing him just below the $530k point at which Targeted Allocation Money or a Designated Player spot is required.

Business side

FC Cincinnati took plenty of flak for hemorrhaging its reserves of Allocation Money in the buildup to the 2019 season (and the on-field results have indicated that criticism was likely warranted), and Nashville SC, by shuttling $650,000 in General Allocation Money to San Jose, is starting to risk drawing the same criticisms. The amount of allocation money granted to expansion teams is generally kept under wraps by MLS brass, but certainly it’s not unlimited.

A 29-year old like Godoy costing $650,000 in allocation money (unlike cash, not a renewable asset due to MLS rules) is something that will certainly be further examined once the bigger picture of the club’s player-acquisition strategy begins to be fleshed out in the public.

As things stand now, here are the known members of Nashville’s 2020 squad, with their salaries from this season:

Player Status Salary Budget hit
David Accam Columbus Crew (trade effective Jan. 1, 2020) $1,137,920 $1,010,004
Aniíbal Godoy San Jose Earthquakes (trade effective Jan. 1, 2020) $498,125 $450,000
Derrick Jones Philadelphia Union (on loan to Nashville USL, trade to Nashville MLS effective Jan. 1, 2020) $80,900 $75,000
Cameron Lancaster Nashville MLS (on loan to Nashville USL for 2019 season) $80,671 $70,250
Daniel Ríos Nashville MLS (on loan to Nashville USL for 2019 season) $91,625 $80,000

Godoy is the second Latin American player, joining Mexican Daniel Ríos on the roster.

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