Welcome to The Wrap, wherein I recap the content from the last Nashville SC game. This is the first MLS edition of same. Let’s roll.
The game story:
It was Zimmerman, though, who will go into the Nashville SC history books. A Hany Mukhtar free kick from the edge of the penalty area landed on the head of Zimmerman, and while that initial shot was unable to head toward the frame, he managed to put a right-footed poke on the ball to score the first-ever Nashville SC goal in MLS.
Hyndman’s winner came after a corner kick, with a failed clearance from the head of Nashville midfielder Anibal Godoy reaching only the edge of the area. The US Youth International blasted a right-footed volley to give Atlanta the win.
It would be the Eleven – a team that had struggled away from home all season – finding the moment to keep a season alive.
“It’s never a nice position to be sitting here talking about defeat but reality is, unless you’re going to lift the cup above your head, at some point you’re going to be in a pretty
disappointed mood,” said Nashville SC head coach Gary Smith. “What I will say is I don’t think the game was lost tonight on a lack of determination, passion, drive, or commitment. It was lost with probably a lack of quality in the final third and maybe that individual who was going to step forward as they had in their team and make a difference.
“So for me, I couldn’t be prouder to be leading this group. They’ve been a fabulous group of players. I’m desperately disappointed that we haven’t progressed. but if you look at the way that Indy have played tonight, I have to give them full credit. They’ve come away from home, they’ve played extremely well, they’ve shown a lot of qualities, and it was never ever going be a game that was full of goals or even goal opportunities, and the one goal that we probably all thought would get it done was just that, one goal.”
The voting post for your community ratings, and here are the results:
- Man of the match: CB Walker Zimmerman: 8.33 Community comments:“Scored NSC’s first MLS goal, goes forward more than I expected. Should be a fun watch.”
- “Worth the money.”
- GK Joe Willis: 5.38 Community comments:“Both goals were not his fault. Defense failed him on the first and not only was the second a great strike but the false flag as well”
- “Straight red was missed”
- “Lucky to not get red carded”
- “Needs to be more commanding in his box”
- D Dave Romney: 6.29 Community comments:“Paired very well with Zimmerman in the back.”
- “Pleasantly surprised by the composure”
- D Dan Lovitz: 6.10 Community comments:“Looked okay didn’t push as much as he needed to late in the game”
- “Could’ve been more adventurous down the left, seems dependable.”
- D Eric Miller: 4.81 Community comments:“That first goal was his fault he stood as Barco smashed it.”
- “Was a complete liability defensively, cost us the first goal by compounding mistakes. Didn’t really do anything exciting to make up for it.”
- “Liable for Barco’s opener.”
- “Looks so uncomfortable. Make the switch”
- M Anibal Godoy: 6.43 Community comment:“Bulldog in the midfield”
- M Dax McCarty: 6.33 Community comment:“Oh captain, my captain”
- M/F Hany Mukhtar: 6.71 Community comments:“Didn’t see enough of him on the ball, but he looked class when he had it.”
“Didn’t have much of a chance to shine, but the quality is there”
- M/F Randall Leal: 6.33 Community comment:“Offensive sparkplug. I worry he won’t be at the club long.”
- “Needs to get the ball out of his feet. So quick, though.”
- M/F David Accam: 6.29 Community comments:“Just didn’t see enough of him.”
- “Created some good chances”
- F Dominique Badji: 5.24 Community comments:“Good pressure and movement. Wish he had hit that left footed curler.”
- “Just not enough. We know what he can do already, so I prefer to take a look at Rios at this point.”
- F Daniel Ríos: 5.17 Community comments:“Big-money man has to do better.”
- ““Lion Heart”…on offense and defense Team MVP”
- M/F Alan Winn (65′ sub): 7.00 Community comments:“Provided a big spark. He definitely fits at this level.”
- “That meg tho”
- “Best sub of the night. Needs to be better with the ball in, though”
- F Abu Danladi (79′ sub): 5.57 Community comment:“Didn’t have much time to make any impact. Looks like a good option for a sub”
- F Daniel Ríos (87′ sub): 5.43 Community comments:“Not enough time out there. RIOS TIME”
- Head coach Gary Smith: 6.71 Community comments:“Pulled the right strings. An individual mistake and a moment of brilliance were the difference.”
- “Solid performance against a tough team. But it wasn’t enough. Maybe is still missing a piece or 3 but he’s the man for the current job. 2 mental lapses cost this team 2 goals.”
- “Positive attacking subs and didn’t sit back as much as I expected.”
- “I liked the strategy he put forth. Were unlucky not to come away with at least a point.”
- Overall team rating: 6.81 Community comments:“Great first match all things considered. The lack of creativity up front is going to hurt us until the summer. Godoy, Zim, Mccarty and Romney paired well together in the back. I thought the fullbacks looked awkward at times. Alan Winn was a great sub had a couple nice run to open up crosses”
- “Held its own against one of the best teams in the league.”
- “Team can improve, but I liked the first look. The atmosphere made for a special night.”
Here’s Badji’s every action in the game:
Not a lot doing there! Only two shots, one blocked and the other from well outside the box (but baaaarely off-target). Not much in the way of link-up play, defensive actions, dribbles…
The struggles aren’t exclusively Badji’s fault – as McCarty said, he needs more help from the players around him – but certainly Nashville will be better off on offense by getting the lone striker involved in the game.
The Film Room looked at Nashville’s first goal conceded, and how the errors that led to it were corrected in short order.
The first big problem here, though, takes place at the point of Escobar’s pass. Walker Zimmerman and Anibal Godoy move to mark Martinez, leaving Miller one-on-two at the back.
Miller compounds that by whiffing on the ball, putting himself in a pure recovery position with two players in behind him.
…and also how Nashville SC showed signs that the press will be effective against teams a little less talented than Atlanta:
Here’s an example of Nashville springing one such trap on the Five Stripes:
It actually starts out of a Nashville turnover (pressing immediately after your own turnover is often referred to as “re-pressing,” if you’re trying to build your tactics lexicon a bit), but NSC sets up a couple on-ball pressure situations with Mukhtar stepping quickly to Escobar while Randall Leal man-marks wingback Brooks Lennon.
And the GIFening:
ESPN recap. USA Today‘s three observations. MLSSoccer.com recap. Nashville Business Journal gets in on the action. It was some Titans in the crowd. Tifo talk. Explanation for the non-red card on the Joe Willis handball. One of the 26 takeaways from the first week was about Nashville. On The Athletic, Joe Lowery breaks down Nashville’s tactical approach. Walker Zimmerman’s goal and defensive performance have him trending up on the USMNT radar. NSC unmoved in ESPN’s league power rankings, but moved up to No. 24 to the league’s website. Nashville Post on the game. Praise for the broadcast from World Soccer Talk. The Scene on the, uh, scene. Three things MLS Multiplex learned. MLS’s TV ratings were awesome this week. I take personal credit.