Welcome to the semi-regular rundown of links of interest to Nashville SC, US Soccer, and more. As always, please feel free to share, and if you come across something you’d like me to share in one of these posts, the social media channels and comments are always open.
FIRST. If you’re a member of a Nashville SC Supporters Group (or SG-curious), the Backline is having a general meeting at Fat Bottom Brewing in The Nations – best and most important neighborhood in Nashville – tonight at 7. Be there or be… probably busy doing something else, idk.
Athletic love. These are paid links, but the #contentisgood, so here we go:
Uh, is new assistant coach Steve Guppy the most interesting dude out there? Perhaps not far off from an audition to be the next Dos Equis man:
While Guppy will be able to take advantage of the music scene, his great passion is angling and he is renowned for spending days camped on a lake trying to catch carp. He is pretty good at it too.
Most of the rest of it is actually about the coaching (and playing) side of things, but that was too interesting to pass up. His. Name. Is. Also. A. Type. Of. Fish. You’ll have to head to The Athletic for the actually soccer talk, including plenty on his time as a player with Leicester City.
Perhaps just as informative if not more so is Gary Smith‘s tactical approach to the season, as relayed to Joe Lowery:
“The likelihood is that we’ll be starting in a 4-2-3-1 system, or something of that type of shape, but certainly with a back four,” Smith said.
While playing in that 4-2-3-1 (or another four-at-the-back shape), Smith wants to see consistent pressing intent from his players.
“I’d like to see their line of confrontation as high up the field as possible,” he added.
That’s a little bit more forthcoming that we’re used to seeing Smith when it comes to tactical talk, though he’s not exactly giving away state secrets.
A little more devotion to pressing could be interesting. It’s easy to forget the team was near-dogmatic about pressing in preseason, and it was a common feature early in the year. Smith and the squad backed off and used it only situationally as the year progressed, but it was a nice piece to have in the back pocket. With a team that’s (theoretically) more constructed around that philosophy, seems like it’ll be a bigger deal.
Was gonna throw this in the Etc. section, but since there’s a devoted Athletic section, Jeff Rueter on USL-to-MLS transfers (or the lack thereof).
Mukhtar is in his prime and has been around a little bit. Crossing the Atlantic is still a big move, but he’s not a kid who’s never left home – he knows, at least a little bit, how to fit into a new environment.
Charles Boehm sees Nashville’s greatest remaining need as a true finisher (well, he did as of Jan. 5, and they haven’t added one since then, so one must assume he still feels that way).
Certainly those two don’t speak for each other, but certainly if Mukhtar is a success in MLS and Nashville finds someone to finish his service, this could be a solid year.
The distant future. The Year 2026. Nashville is still in the running for a World Cup 2026 host slot. Interestingly, a few cities that would otherwise be near-locks to host – including Chicago – opted not to enter the bidding process, which can only help Music City. Of course, trying to land a World Cup game seems to be among the motivations (in not-so-secret fashion) for building a stadium that’s the largest soccer-specific one in the country.
Speaking of said stadium, not a ton to give in the way of an update to the progress on getting shovels into dirt and building the thing. Mayor John Cooper‘s office has continued to decline comment, while a trial date was set for one of the legal challenges (June 15, though the expectation is that construction can begin before the resolution of that one – search case 74874 if the Chancery website is acting up), while the other (search 73306) could see its resolution in two weeks.
Etc.: … Nordsjaelland manager Flemming Pederson with some good development talk. … NSC part-owner Marcus Whitney stays guestin’ on pods. … Hany Mukhtar feature (I’m fairly certain that source is an aggregator/plagiarist, but I couldn’t find the original. We regret the error). … Williamson Source touches on NSC’s dual-draftees from the Tennessee Soccer Club alumni pool.
Steve Guppy photo courtesy Nashville SC