I probably don’t need to continue harping on this – and certainly you aren’t getting your Public Health updates from a sports blogger (though IMO, you should be) – but stay in your dang house. The sooner this is over the sooner we get sports back. Header image from file is to remind you what outside looks like.
Anyway, this is Pitch Points, with some links of interest to soccer in Tennessee, Nashville SC, and the broader world of soccer. If you run across an article that you think would be interesting for one of these posts, the various inboxes are always open.
Catching up on preseason
I ran out of time to run a full preseason package, but hey, we’ve got alllllll sorts of time now. On MLSSoccer.com, Andrew Wiebe’s preseason expectations for Nashville SC.
Nashville aren’t going to be FC Cincinnati 2019 or Minnesota 2017. This group will not set a new record for defensive ineptitude. Their back six is too experienced and talented and Smith too pragmatic a tactician to put up with defensive shenanigans of that magnitude.
No, Nashville SC is a different kind of expansion experiment. They’re doing something no other expansion team of the past five years has done. What if you start with keeping the ball out of the back of the net and hold onto those DP spots until you have a fuller picture of your team’s needs?
Nashville Scene‘s Steve Cavendish on the building of the club. If you’ve followed the day-to-day, probably not much revelatory in there, but Steve’s obviously a great writer and he provides a good 10,000-foot view:
[F]or Nashville, the model might be in examining what Minnesota United and FC Cincinnati did wrong and trying to plan against it. Both teams played their first seasons in football stadiums, neither spent big, and both led the league in goals allowed. Cincinnati was historically bad, giving up 75 goals in 34 games, and the team fired its coach halfway through the season.
A similarly “you might be familiar with this story if you follow regularly”-type feature on the origins of the club.
NBC’s Kyle Bonn published three things to know about each of the two expansion teams. Plenty of detail therein, but here are his headings for Nashville:
1. This team is strong defensively, and not so much up front
2. The roster is full of scrappy players
3. Nashville probably needs to look for a few more pieces
After most of the above are about comparing Miami and Nashville, uh, they say don’t do that.
Nashville SC made Matt Doyle’s bottom tier of teams, charitably entitled “open questions.” Friend of the Blog Travis Clark of Top Drawer Soccer named midfielder Alistair Johnston an “other to watch” in the Rookie of the year race. NSC team preview by SBI Soccer‘s Tyler Snipes.
Coaching and data and soccer, oh my!
The day-to-day of coaching and theory of tactics are typically discussed separately on the consumer end of things, so this two-part series from American Soccer Analysis with a couple boots-on-the-ground data-oriented members of college coaching staffs was super-interesting.
At our training pitch, I connect my computer to the Spiideo feed through an SDI cable and feed it into Sportscode. Each and every repetition of a particular drill is cut out and assigned a “+” or “-“grade depending on the outcome – success in these drills is determined by the end goal of the session, or if there were positive moments from the team/player within them.
Following in that theme, a cool story in The Athletic with one of the youngest assistant coaches in Germany($) touches on similar topics. Obviously a coach at a higher level, though the interview was conducted in German and translated, so the prose can be a rough follow at times.
The haterz and loserz doubted that Nashville SC had any intention of being possession-oriented this season. Through the extremely limited sample size, NSC may very well be that. Also, Walker Zimmerman has the best success rate in duels so far this season, again with a very small sample size.
GAM, TAM, and Sam (and Paul)
Hey this section is not largely going to be about MLS roster rules (though if you aren’t following this duo’s new podcast, Allocation Disorder, get to it). The Athletic‘s Sam Stejskal and Paul Tenorio break down the possibilities for squeezing in the entire MLS schedule ($) with a truncated calendar. Assuming no further extensions of the hiatus (STAY IN YOUR DANG HOUSE), it’s possible.
Tangentially-related, I will be devastated if (when) All-Star week is canceled to fit in the regular season, because I was very much looking forward to the skills challenge.
Brayan Beckeles discussed as a Honduran expat in MLS, Lo mismo from Costa Rica on Randall Leal, and a Central American rundown (all three esp). … Drafted by not signed by Nashville SC, Cane Ridge High grad Shak Adams signs with FC Tucson. … Feature on Matt Pickens from his hometown. … David Accam says he’s got work to do to get back into the Ghana MNT picture. … NSC’s communications staff has been putting together some flame emoji video content lately. … The boys’ Development Academy is downsizing ($) for the next season, assuming that ever happens. … In This House we have long stanned Portland’s Jeremy Ebobisse, and this certainly won’t change that status.
As always, thanks for visiting the site. Please feel free to share with friends interested in soccer.