Photo courtesy Nashville SC
At long last, we know the players with whom Nashville will continue into battle in 2022. The roster decisions are here. For an overview of where things stood before today, take a look at my preview post here.
And, from NSC release:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Dec. 10, 2021) – Nashville Soccer Club announced today the club’s current roster status for the 2022 season.
Nashville SC reached new contract agreements and extended the contracts with Captain Dax McCarty, midfielders Aníbal Godoy, Brian Anunga and Randall Leal as well as defender Dan Lovitz.
Players already under contract for the 2022 season include: goalkeeper Joe Willis, defenders Jack Maher (Generation adidas), Miguel Nazarit, Dave Romney, Walker Zimmerman and attackers Handwalla Bwana, Aké Loba, Hany Mukhtar, Rodrigo Piñeiro, Daniel Ríos and CJ Sapong.
Nashville has exercised the contract options on goalkeeper Elliot Panicco, defenders Robert Castellanos, Alistair Johnston, Eric Miller, Dylan Nealis and Taylor Washington. Midfielders Irakoze Donasiyano, Luke Haakenson and Alex Muyl had their options exercised as well.
Defender Jalil Anibaba and forward Abu Danladi will be out of contract at the end of the year.
Nashville declined the 2022 contract options of David Accam, Nick Hinds, Tom Judge, Matt LaGrassa, and Tor Saunders. Jhonder Cádiz had his transfer option declined.
Goalkeeper Bryan Meredith had his option declined, but Nashville remains in negotiations with him for the 2022 season.Nashville SC Release
With that, the roster going forward is as follows:
Goalkeepers (2): Joe Willis, Elliot Panicco
Defenders (10): Robert Castellanos, Alistair Johnston, Dan Lovitz, Jack Maher, Eric Miller, Miguel Nazarit, Dylan Nealis, Dave Romney, Taylor Washington, and Walker Zimmerman
Midfielders (10): Tah Brian Anunga, Handwalla Bwana, Irakoze Donasiyano, Aníbal Godoy, Luke Haakenson, Randall Leal, Dax McCarty, Hany Mukhtar, Alex Muyl and Rodrigo Piñeiro
Forwards (3): Aké Loba, Daniel Ríos and CJ SapongNashville SC
New deals for a few key players (as well as one likely on the way for Bryan Meredith) help with continuity and – in all likelihood – a bit more budget to play around with at other positions.
Any surprises here?
- That Nazarit is still under contract (while having yet to play for NSC and getting sparing playing time for Independiente Santa Fe back home in Colombia) could be considered one.
- There were a few guys who appeared on the “exercise option or not?” borderline, and the majority of them (Donasiyano, Miller, Muyl, Nealis, Washington) were exercised.
- Choosing to negotiate a new deal with Meredith over riding with Tor Saunders is a bit of a surprise (for budgetary reasons), though the technical staff had the opportunity to evaluate Saunders in training all year, so that may simply prove to be a talent decision.
- Declining the transfer option for Jhonder Cádiz is a mild surprise, though the late improvement from Ake Loba and a desire to keep a DP spot open (or not bother negotiating Cádiz’s salary down) along with the return of CJ Sapong makes that a little more obvious a choice.
- Not re-signing Abu Danladi or (especially) Jalil Anibaba before those guys hit free agency is a mild surprise, though given the way NSC is run, you can understand wanting to do right by the players and giving them the opportunity to find better playing-time situations.
So what’s next? After a relatively quiet half-day trade window in 2020, Nashville will be quite a bit more active this year – a bit more of a typical offseason after the craziness of 2020. The guys on the roster you see above won’t be the only players on the roster when it’s locked for the Expansion Draft, nor will they necessarily all still be there. Swapping around some other types of resources will also happen.
The half-day window opens at 9 a.m. EST on Sunday, and closes at 1 p.m. EST (8-noon here). Most of the deals that we’ll see have already been agreed, and simply need to be made official at that time.
After the half-day window, there’s the official release of MLS’s lists for postseason roster mechanisms (Expansion Draft, free agency, waivers, re-entry) at some point on Monday, and then Charlotte FC’s Expansion Draft Tuesday evening. After losing goalkeeper Brady Scott in last year’s Expansion Draft, Nashville is off-limits for losing any players to Charlotte, so this will be most-interesting from a neutral observer’s perspective, with no need to worry.
The end-of-year waivers process takes place Wednesday, the same time clubs can begin to negotiate with free agents. Re-entry phase 1 takes place Friday, and phase 2 the following Thursday.
Verily, #hottimwinter is upon us.