Nashville SC

The Wrap: Portland Timbers 1-0 Nashville SC

Welcome to The Wrap, wherein I recap the content from the last Nashville SC game. Gonna be honest – with a whole lotta time before any more games, I’ll probably have more to say about this one. For the time being, wanna get this going.

Local content

The game story:

All told, it was too similar – a headed clearance not completely played to safety, an offside question – to Emerson Hyndman’s winning goal for Atlanta United a week ago in Nashville.

Once again, Nashville dominated statistically, with 14 shots to just three for Portland – and even greater disparity than the loss to Atlanta United. A number of golden chances were mixed in, with a couple near-misses involved, and Portland keeper Steve Clark making four saves on Nashville’s shots on-target.

The game column with postgame quotes provided by Nashville SC media relations.

While the striker position hasn’t been the primary issue, Rios’s 21 goals in USL play last year are an important bullet point on the résumé for a player looking to crack the starting lineup of a team that needs to find the back of the net.

“Well with my situation coming from the bench, I was going to try to change the progress of the game, bring more intensity, of course, score goals or opportunities so that’s how I felt when I went inside,” he said. “We tried for the last 15-20 minutes. We were close but close is not enough, we need to complete our chances.”

The voting post for your community ratings, and here are the results:

  • Man of the match: CB Walker Zimmerman: 7.47 Community comments:
    • “Start the man at striker”
    • “Our most dangerous player so far.”
  • GK Joe Willis: 5.68
  • D Dave Romney: 6.74
  • D Dan Lovitz: 6.32
  • D Eric Miller: 3.79 Community comments:
    • “Get the man off the field”
    • “*sigh* “
    • “Got beat several times.”
    • “Again his man scores because he isn’t close enough and he played him onside”
    • “3 goals against in two games, Miller common point.”
  • M Dax McCarty: 7.00 Community comment:
    • “Understand his leadership needs, but he will not be able to withstand the game by game grind. Need an alternative to this position.”
  • M Anibal Godoy: 6.69 Community comments:
    • “Best chance of the day”
    • “Slow on the ball. Terrible passing.”
  • M/F Hany Mukhtar: 6.74 Community comments:
    • “Set pieces were disappointing”
    • “would like to see him pull back 10-15 yards to see if things open up a bit more.”
  • M/F Randall Leal: 5.90 Community comments:
    • “Gotta be more precise”
    • “Missed we open net.”
  • M/F David Accam: 5.79
  • F Dominique Badji: 4.42 Community comments:
    • “Useless”
    • “0 attacking chances from the striker.”
    • “lost”
  • F Abu Danladi (61′ sub): 4.53
  • F Daniel Ríos (71′ sub): 6.63 Community comments:
    • “Clearly our best striker. WTF Gary?!”
    • “Needs to start at striker next game.”
  • M/F Jimmy Medranda (82′ sub): 5.57 Community comments:
    • “I wish he could play on the right.”
    • “Great crossing skills.”
  • Head coach Gary Smith: 5.58 Community comments:
    • “I hate Smith’s boring-ass tactics”
    • “The jury is still out. So far he’s not putting our strongest lineup on the pitch until late in matches.”
    • “Need to have ability to change formation on fly….. to predictive”
  • Overall team rating: 5.89 Community comments:
    • “Yawn”
    • “We need a scoring option. Need to be more aggressive on taking the ball away.”

The Graphical:

Here’s the piece that ties it together: if Nashville wasn’t creating an assist in the final third, the Boys in Gold were hardly connecting their passes at all:

Screen Shot 2020-03-10 at 11.44.54 AM.png

Some of those are speculative lumps in from the wings, and certainly as the full-time whistle approached with NSC sporting a 1-0 deficit in the game, you can see why that became the gameplan (over-reliance on crossing and set-piece play while down a goal is one of the very legit criticisms of Gary Smith’s tactical approach through two USL seasons and one USL game, though).

Hopefully, some of the imprecision we’re seeing here will also be worked out with more time on the field together at game speed.

The Film Room looked at what happened on Diego Valeri’s goal, and while Eric Miller isn’t granted absolution, certainly the blame is a little more spread-around than it initially seemed.

In fact, if you look at the players’ positioning in the still frame before the side-angle view runs, you can get a good look at the backline’s (and the midfield line’s) positioning:

Screen Shot 2020-03-11 at 1.27.45 PM

While Miller has sunk too deep (he’s still recovering from the crosser there), and may be pushed out too wide (while he does have responsibility for Jorge Villafaña still, a pass back out to the wide area would give him plenty of time to bump back out), right centerback Walker Zimmerman – the guy who has turned the backline’s shape into a Harry Potter tattoo, rather than a straight line in the photo above – overreacted bigtime to Villafaña’s cross, and has tucked in too tight to his CB compatriot Dave Romney.

And the GIFening:



MLSSoccer match recap. … NBC Sports touches on the Timbers’ defense-first strategy. AP story from the Williamson Herald. Game recap. Gamer from the Nashville PostSpeedway‘s Chalkboard and Player ratings. Gamer from The Tennessean. Review from Paradise Pod.

Uh, a lot less written nationally about this one as compared to the Atlanta game.

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