Welcome to Pitch Points, with the latest links in the world of Nashville SC, US Soccer, and beyond. As always, if you find something of interest, don’t hesitate to share through the comments or various social media channels, and hit ’em with a follow while you’re there.
First an update on his status: DP striker Jhonder Cádiz has not entered the United States yet, and once he does, he’ll have to quarantine in-market for 10 days before he’s eligible to compete (or even train, which is not a big deal for a guy who’s in-season, as Alex Muyl was, but more so for a guy who’s been in offseason mode for a few months). Dealing with visas, etc. is difficult during a global pandemic, of course. It’ll be a while before he sees the pitch in Gold.
That said, some stories on the signing. The 1,000-foot view from MLSSoccer’s Tom Bogert. The release from Benfica doesn’t have a ton of detail, but there it is. Portuguese newspaper A Bola (which initially broke the story) has some financials on the deal. Since I don’t speak a lick of Portuguese, Google Translate will do the legwork for us:
The striker sees his new club take on his entire payroll, while the eagles still managed to profit € 500,000 from the loan fee. If the season goes well for you in MLS and you get a total of 25 games at least, a mandatory purchase clause will be triggered, with Nashville paying over € 3 million there.A Bola (wsg. Google Translate)
The loan fee is basically nominal when you consider that Cádiz is a Designated Player – it’s lumped into the DP salary, essentially. A €3 million valuation (about $3.6m on this side of the pond) is a little greater than the €2.4 Transfermarkt value, but not out of the realm of realistic maturation of the investment next year.
The one dispute Nashville SC would have: Mike Jacobs has been adamant that it’s 100% a Nashville SC club option on the purchase (and given he’s said it unequivocally, on the record, I’d roll with that over an unsourced report). The ExtraTime fellas sat down with Portuguese scout Rodrigo Carvalho to break down how he fits into the NSC system.
While we’re on the topic of the offense… MLSSoccer.com’s Matt Doyle – one of said ExtraTime fellas – with the progress report on first-year coaches:
What’s Going Wrong: The attack is not working as it’s designed to work. They’d scored just five times all year going into last weekend, and left at least that many more on the table with profligacy in front of the net. That’s at least somewhat expected, because literally everyone who wrote a Nashville preview had a line about how center forward was a massive question.
They’ll be hoping that new DP Jhonder Cadiz is the answer.Matt Doyle
The over-arching point is probably true – the offense hasn’t lived up to hopes and dreams, but “working as its designed to work” doesn’t seem like the problem: the club is dead-center (per American Soccer Analysis) in xG for/game, and just not finishing. That strikes me as something other than a design issue.
Desmond Armstrong is a legend
It’s not often we get a United States Men’s National Team story with a local angle, but Desmond Armstrong provides. A really good story with the Nashville local and first Black American to represent the USMNT:
Born in Washington, D.C., Armstrong’s early years were spent in a predominantly all-Black area in Hyattsville, Md. His family moved to Wheaton, Md., a virtually all-white community. The Armstrongs lived next to a family in which the father once was a Ku Klux Klan member.
“They pretty much ignored us the entire time,” Armstrong said. “So, there was no real trauma or drama.”US Soccer.com
I think even as a white guy, I would, uh, not be able to take that situation in-stride nearly as smoothly as Armstrong. That says a lot about his character, of course. It also speaks a little more grimly about the fact that he’s basically grown used to that type of situation because there are still such issues in this country.
On a related note, here’s Jalil Anibaba – who is on the Executive Board of the Black Players for Change – on Black Lives Matter.
Tornadoes and pandemics are bad. Soccer is good
American Tifo takes a look at expansion clubs – and the supporters whose inaugural seasons were disrupted by… all this. Nashville SC is represented by Newton “Duane” Dominey:
“It seems like a decade ago that a tornado tore through Nashville,” said Newton Dominey, president of The Roadies, one of several Nashville SC supporters groups. “That felt galvanizing. Then with the pandemic. There’s so much other stuff that sucks worse than this. But this sucks. It seems trivial, to say that I cried about missing some of the things that we should have been able to do this year, but that’s the case, that’s the reality. It’s been really hard.”American Tifo
Obviously, Nashville SC fans don’t need to be told how much it sucks: they are living it!
Friend-of-the-blog Justin Sousa is a great soccer mind and has an interesting look at the various styles of double-pivot midfields in MLS. Your relevant portion (there’s much more, even about NSC if you click on through):
Since his days at the New York Red Bulls, McCarty has always been one of the hardest working midfielders in the league. Alongside another workmen in Godoy, Nashville has an argument for most robust midfield tangent in the league. Yes, they’re both on the older side of 30, but they haven’t lost touch with their ability to cover ground and close down opponents. Nashville didn’t get off to the hottest starts for an expansion club, but this veteran double pivot would be a dream to work in front of for any front four.Justin Sousa
Old now (double gameweeks make little time for link roundups!), but still relevant. Aníbal Godoy and Dax McCarty have gotten a little more broad acclaim for their offensive exploits in recent weeks, but certainly their game is centered around being defensively sound (including in ways that are hard to see).
Speaking of Dax: he is on North Carolina’s all-time Best XI. Given the storied history of the UNC program, that’s pretty impressive.
Etc.: Interesting look at what could be a major philosophical shift – and trading Alex Muyl, a Red Bulls Academy product, intra-league rather than holding on or selling overseas probably speaks to it to a lesser extent – in the New York Red Bulls front office. … The Inside Agents podcast sits down with Nashville SC scout Tyler Long for a breakdown on his path into professional soccer and what his vision for NSC (and day-to-day job) looks like. … Your exceedingly rare PL link: season preview of our beloved (“tolerated”) West Ham from StatsBomb. My prediction: bounce between relegation zone and 10th place, ending closer to the former, just like every season. … Aníbal Godoy knows that Panama can’t take its World Cup Qualifying group lightly.