Pitch Points also, for a very long time, incorrectly said, “‘chomping’ at the bit” until losing an argument about the correct word in embarrassing fashion. We regret the error.
Uh, I mean, welcome to Pitch Points, wherein I round up some links of interest in the world of Nashville SC and US Soccer, and sometimes beyond. As always, this is just a small slice of what’s out there. If you come across something interesting, never hesitate to drop it on the social media channels, via e-mail, or in the comments here.
Season predictions. It’s almost game week, so they’re everywhere! ESPN.com’s prediction column only goes so far as to predict “watching the playoffs from home.”
MLSSoccer.com’s roundtable of experts is not particularly high on Nashville. I doubt anyone thinks “Cincinnati bad,” but five out of seven experts say worst in the West:
- Ben Baer: 11th in West
- Marcelo Balboa (Univision): 13th in West
- Calen Carr: 13th in West
- Charlie Davies: 13th in West
- Matt Doyle: 10th in West
- Kristian Jack (TSN): 13th in West
- Frederic Lord (TVA Sports): 13th in West
However, Matt Doyle was given the unenviable task of coming up with a reason for each team (even Cincinnati!) to have an argument as a Supporter’s Shield contender.
They’re not going to be Cincinnati or Minnesota! No way this team is giving up 70 goals.
It’s tough to see them scoring a ton of goals, though. But here’s the hypothetical: Hany Mukhtar and Randall Leal are, indeed, elite MLS attackers and Daniel Rios is MLS Jamie Vardy – a lower-division striker who makes good and does the improbable in the top tier. Plus Derrick Jones realizes his potential as a box-to-box-ish destroying attacker who’s a No. 8 with No. 10 proclivities.
Talkin’ Zimmerman. Lots of Walker Zimmerman talk in the last week-plus, understandably. We’ll start here, where I transcribed his introductory press conference and put up some GIFs from the USMNT-Costa Rica game last month (in addition to the initial signing post, of course).
Let us start with MLSSoccer.com, where Tom Bogert spoke with Nashville SC General Manager Mike Jacobs about the signing, and how NSC had been saving up its allocation money for just such a move:
As Nashville GM Mike Jacobs and LAFC EVP & GM John Thorrington stayed in contact over potential deals throughout the year, the expansion club saw an opening this week.
“When (Thorrington) told me he’d consider the idea of moving Walker, it was an opportunity for us to jump on,” Jacobs told MLSsoccer.com. “We were saving this war chest up of allocation money for a player like Walker.”
Given the narratives around Nashville SC’s other uses of allocation money (the Aníbal Godoy trade, for example, was largely considered wasteful), it seems Jacobs has the last laugh, given those criticisms swirled while his actions behind the scenes were considered to be in a “saving up” cycle, not a spending cycle. Of course, the lack of transparency around allocation money (particularly for expansion teams) played a role in obscuring exactly the situation Nashville was working with.
Let us stay with MLSSoccer.com where some guy called “Tim Sullivan” spoke with Zimmerman about the non-soccer side of uprooting one’s life for the second time in just over two years:
“There’s a lot of natural human emotions that you’re going to feel with that,” he explained. “There’s sadness for sure, because it’s not like we were unhappy or ungrateful or there was turmoil [at LAFC] or anything. We were all-in, fully invested there, same way I’m going to be here. You’re leaving a lot of friends, teammates, neighbors, and a lot of people that you really care about and were investing in. That’s the hard part.”
And some #analysis from friend of the blog Andrew Wiebe.
If you aren’t watching Concacaf Champions League, uh, LAFC’s defense looks like a nightmare without Zimmerman (but no, that’s not the only problem Bob Bradley’s team showed in game one. I blame man-bun Carlos Vela).
Some local fluff on his signing.
Hany given given Sunday (or other, better pun). Doyle on every team’s most important player. Nashville’s… will come as no surprise:
The attack is nothing but question marks. Nashville‘s one big bet is Mukhtar, the German DP playmaker they bought from Brondby last summer.
He needs to be the one who provides answers for all those questions in attack.
Not related to Mukhtar, but it’s my blog so I can have inaccurate section headings if I want: Brayan Beckeles plays to return to the Honduran national team.
Etc.: Nashville SC picks up Minnesota United’s broadcast sideline analyst. Nashville SC no longer fields a USL side, but the FiveThirtyEight favorites are here. Stats talk and some pretty Eliot McKinley graphs. … Derrick Jones among the potential Olympic participants this Summer. … The weekend is half-over, but Nashville SC Academy tryouts are ongoing. … Obligatory Michigan inclusion. … Heaters stay winning.
As always, thanks for visiting. Feel free to share stories with me via the links at the top, and feel free to share this one with your friends via the share links included.
Header image Ryan Lassan Photography/For Club and Country