IMG Academy photo by Tim Sullivan/Club and Country. Yeah they aren’t there today but it’s whatever.
The final friendly of Nashville SC’s preseason is upon us. The Boys in Gold will close out their time in Central Florida today before heading back to Music City for game-week prep.
The game is at Noon EST (11am here) from Clearwater, Fla. The coverage from all of preseason remains the same: Aside from lineups and goal/sub updates from the Nashville SC social media accounts, there won’t really be a way to follow along live. However, those lineups can be meaningful in terms of picking through what Nashville SC plans to do on the field this Summer. I would contend we haven’t learned a ton just yet, but some tea leaves here and there have been nice.
Despite losing some significant talent in the transfer/trade markets, you can safely assume the Union will once again be among the East’s top teams. Jim Curtin’s team edged NSC on tiebreakers for second place last year, and will be hopeful to climb all the way to the top in 2022.
Some of the departures are significant in terms of determining what, exactly, this Union team is, though. Gone are striker Kacper Przybylko (Chicago Fire) and attacking midfielder Jamiro Monteiro (San Jose Earthquakes) from the attack, while the expectation is for Danish striker Mikael Uhre (arriving from Bröndby, where he overlapped with Hany Mukhtar) and former Inter Miami bust Julian Carranza to carry some of the attacking load now. The hope is also for Aaronson the Younger to follow in big bro’s footsteps, with a path being cleared for 18-year old Paxten to shine in the Union’s scheme before moving on to Europe, like brother Brenden before him.
The majority of the Union backline returns, with Kai Wagner, Jack Elliott, Jakob Glesnes, and Olivier Mbaizo playing the lion’s share of last year’s minute (left to right), and of course Andre Blake returns as one of the best backstops in the league – and when Matt Turner leaves New England mid-season, it’s likely there won’t even be an argument for anyone in Blake’s tier.
But it’s preseason, so god knows who’s actually going to play and where.
Meanwhile, Nashville – an despite offseason of hinting to those who would listen that the 4-2-3-1 would be back – has stuck with variations on a 3-4-3 or 3-5-2 in each of the friendlies, and I would expect we get more of that today. Whether we have a first-choice lineup for any segment of the contest, or it’s experimental/tryout level is unknowable from outside the NSC camp.
I would expect we’ll get at least a little run from the deep backups, so first intersquad scrimmage action for backup keepers Elliot Panicco and Will Meyer (assuming Meyer’s still there? Haven’t pored over the training footage closely enough to notice), as well as midfielder/defender Irakoze Donasiyano (same situation – he could be poised for a loan out and preparation with a USL side).
What we really want here? Goals. So let’s see ’em.