Dominique Badji photo courtesy FC Dallas.
Nashville SC has signed many players from within MLS! That includes erstwhile FC Dallas winger/striker Dominique Badji. I caught up with 3rd Degree‘s Buzz Carrick for a breakdown of the forward’s time in the Metroplex.
For Club and Country: What sort of player should Nashville SC fans expect in Dominique Badji? What are the strengths and weaknesses of his game?
Buzz Carrick: Badji is a very direct player that can fill in as a 9 or a wing on either side. He likes to play a vertical style, running at or past defenders. Solid on the ball, but not nifty, he’s more of a push-and-go. He’s not going to play small triangles with teammates but will slash. He’s got a pretty good work rate and plays better when he’s mad. Can drift out of a game if he’s not motivated. Usually puts in a good shift and can high press. He’s good for just under 10 goals a season but not much more. His weakness is finishing, he needs a high volume of shots and he will drive you crazy with some of the misses. He also, generally speaking, needs to get in the box more.
FCAC: What was Dallas expecting when they signed him? Obviously it hasn’t worked out, so what went wrong?
BC: They hoped he could be a 9 but knew, in the long run, he was probably a wing. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it didn’t work out. Badji is exactly what they thought. He’s not a failure by any means. They got from him just what the expected, if perhaps not what they hoped. Their hands were forced by Kellyn Acosta who asked to be traded. Badji was the best offer they could get that helped their roster. He’s being traded for other reasons.
FCAC: It seems like most of his time with FCD was spent as a winger. Did he show skills that are more applicable to center forward, or just show that maybe he’s not quite up to the level of skill necessary to succeed in the league? If he were to blossom at a new stop in Nashville, what are the things that would allow that to happen?
BC: Badji split his time between wing and 9 just about evenly. He thinks he’s a 9, but his skill set is for more of a 9 on the break: counterattacking, or vertical attack. As a wing, he likes to cheat inside and play as an off-forward more than a high and wide wing. All it would take for him to be successful is for a coach to play him and trust him… if you can accept success as just under 10 goals. He’s not going to score you 18. Convincing him to get in the box more will help, as would some finishing work… not that others haven’t tried those things.
FCAC: What made Dallas willing to part with him? Did the club feel like the price was good?
BC: Fit. He doesn’t fit Luchi-Ball. And in a year of two expansion teams and a couple of other teams trying to rebuild, Badji’s market value exceeded his value to FCD. He wasn’t going to start here anymore and his style isn’t right. That’s why I predicted he would be traded back at the end of the season. Badji has a good value contract, he stays mostly healthy, you know what you’re getting, a good consistent track record of performance. Not great performance, but good and steady. But Luchi is heading into season two, he’s trying to move the team along in a certain style of play. Badji isn’t a fit for that, but he’s an asset that has solid value that could be moved. That’s why he’s bring traded.
I haven’t asked yet, but I assume they are happy with the return. FCD needed Garber-Bucks, not bodies. and they don’t need picks either because of the Academy. It was always going to be TAM/GAM they were after.
FCAC: What sort of guy is he off the field (or in the non-physical attributes on it)? Fiery leader? Quiet head-down worker?
BC: Good dude actually, good sense of humor, gets along with everyone. Quality locker room guy, quality teammate. Doesn’t complain, works hard, fairly good health record. A really solid MLS vet roster piece. I think he’s a good add for Nashville, although he’s not going to carry anyone to MLS Cup. It was just a matter of fit here, game style. He just isn’t the right kind of player for Luchi’s slow possession style. If he fits what your coach is doing, he’s a good piece.
Many thanks to Buzz for volunteering his expertise. Make sure you follow 3rd Degree on Twitter for everything you could possibly want to know about FC Dallas.