Welcome to Pitch Points, wherein I round up some links of interest around Nashville SC, US Soccer, and… whatever else catches my eye. As always, if you have a story you think would be a fit for one of these posts, you can reach me via e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, carrier pigeon, etc. etc. Hit all of those except the carrier pigeon with a follow while you’re there.
stadium_stuff. Everyone and their mother has spoken out about how Nashville Mayor John Cooper at the very least must sign off on stadium construction immediately. That includes The Tennessean, the commissioner of the dang Fair Board, etc. etc.
At last night’s Metro Council meeting, Cooper was present but chose to walk out rather than speak publicly, so that’s the sort of guy he is.
District 17 Council Member Colby Sledge requested clarification from Metro’s legal department as to an interpretation of Cooper’s authority (and the government’s liability in violating its own passed legislation) at last night’s Metro Council meeting:
He was told to make the request in writing, but you can safely assume he knew that would be the response, and simply wanted to get the question on the record in Council.
For the record, January saw a “set the clock since Save Our Fairgrounds’s lawyer was reprimanded by the state bar association back to zero” event.
Ríos. Local fluff on one of the links between the final Nashville SC season in USL and the first in MLS. I had not realized that he was with the Chivas first team until Matias Almeyda (now the head coach of the San Jose Earthquakes) arrived in Guadalajara.
“Me tocó estar desde muy chico en Chivas y en Primera no tuve los minutos ni la oportunidad y salí a préstamo a Coras, a Zacatepec. Hice bien las cosas, hice goles al América, a Tijuana, a Santos y Cruz Azul pero al no haber apoyo de Chivas decidí arriesgarme y buscar por otros lados y así llegué a Nashville”, contó en entrevista con Medotiempo.
(Rough translation: “They played me very young at Chivas, and at first I didn’t have minutes nor the opportunity, and I left on loan to Coras, to Zacatepec. I did things well, scored goals against América, against Tijuana, against Santos and Cruz Azul, but without the support of Chivas, I decided to take a risk and look for other sides, and that’s how I arrived at Nashville.”)
Also he’s put in a “Vela, Chicharito, Alan Pulido, and Daniel Ríos” category. No pressure, kid.
USMNT. Bless Ben Harreld’s heart. He is still giving UFR-style game reports after USMNT matches. I did the same thing for Nashville SC in 2018 (in a different format), and found it time-consuming and not well-received! The greater the number of games played, the more interesting the data should become.
A solid tactical breakdown of the Costa Rica game from Positional Play Scholar:
What they are doing is creating a box midfield on top of those positional superiorities. Where the deeper players are asked to make plays mostly with their passes. Where the 2 and 4 are asked to make plays with their dribbling, runs, and speed.
Plenty of informative stuff about how Gregg Berhalter’s teams want to break down the opponent – and why they want to do it that way. Fairly adaptable to the personnel, with the roles slightly shifted in this one compared to previous USMNT setups. Most of his clips come from the first half, so alas, no Randall Leal. You can get your fix from me still.
A fairly interesting take from Stars and Stripes FC on “the system.” It encapsulates some of my thoughts about the Berhalter era – specifically how it’s been defined by a system that was largely a one-off in a couple separate camps (but has been brought up incessantly as the boiled-down essence of what the team has been since January 2019).
I won’t get into it at length, but you can probably connect the dots from that to how I feel about the “Berhalter’s system is too idealistic, he needs to be more pragmatic” and “beating Canada 4-1 isn’t a credit to Berhalter because it was done in a pragmatic way so clearly it wasn’t his philosophy” complaints coming out of opposite sides of many mouths over the past year or so.
Is Berhalter a great coach for the MNT? Maybe, maybe not. I lean toward his being a good appointment that probably should last one cycle only, but the constant criticism (sometimes fair, often unfair in the manner listed above) biases me to be contrarian to the anti-Berhalter crowd.
Nerd talk. Nashville SC head of strategy & analytics Oliver Miller Farrell sits down with ESPN 610 in Philly for a really, really interesting talk about which metrics NSC uses, the philosophy behind building a successful team, and much more. The interview starts at 17:30 and is about 25 minutes long.
Also in analytics, Smarter Scout has a breakdown of some of Nashville’s player in the back five. I’m a little skeptical of a few assertions (for example, exploding 90 career minutes of data for Adrian Zendejas into any meaningful takeaways, calling Jimmy Medranda – injured for nearly all of 2019 – a player who has fallen out of favor in MLS, etc.). It’s an interesting look nonetheless.
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