Nashville SC lost 2-0 to Atlanta United last night in what was another frustrating match for fans. Once again, the team played well enough to get a result, but the lack of quality in the final third wasn’t there. Contrast this with Atlanta who got two great goals from DP Pity Martinez. What was clear before the season started is now obvious. The team needs a number 9. Until they sign a proven goal scorer the frustrations for fans will continue.
Pity Martinez Goals Show What Nashville SC Need
Most the match was an even game. Both teams getting forward at times, but neither really producing much. All that changed in the 40′. Nashville had just wasted another opportunity in the final third. Eric Remedi saw that Pity Martinez was just ahead of Anibaba who had pushed forward and was tracking back. He launched what had to be a 60 yard pass that Pity brought down smoothly. Now a step ahead of Anibaba he still had to beat Walker Zimmerman which he did with ease before poking past Wills for the 1-0 lead. It was Zimmerman’s worst moment in a Nashville SC kit. Given he’s been a rock and clearly one of our best players he gets a pass. Sometimes you just credit the other player and Pity was the 2018 South American Player of the Year. Pity put an exclamation point on the win with a golazo from just outside the box and into the top corner in the 87′ for the 2-0 victory.
Right Back Remains an Issue
Why is the right back position always having the problem? Has Lovitz been that good or are teams just always attacking the weak side? Probably a bit of both. From what I’ve seen I’d stick with Anibaba. He was literally just a step behind and that pass and goal were special. His one on one defending has been better than what we saw from Miller or Beckeles. That said, I expect Miller to get another shot once he recovers from injury.
Nashville SC Offense on Pace to be Most Inept in MLS History
It was clear before the season started that Nashville SC would struggle to score. This is only more obvious with each passing game. While some thought Badji or Rios could be a double digit goal scorers there is no evidence that is the case. It’s just hopeful cheerleading. I believe 2013 DC United have the MLS record for most inept offense at .62 goals per match. Five games in Nashville SC is averaging .4. Even poor scoring teams can get hot for a brief stretch so I expect this number to improve (it really can’t get worse), but it’s time. I suspect those with more level heads will mention that its only been five games. While true, that is almost 20% of the season. In my pre season article I called the roster disappointing and predicted they would be one of the lowest scoring teams in MLS. I was thinking in 2020, not in MLS history. How much more time is needed to address this problem?
Others Starting to See the Light
If I had a brand I guess it would be negative pessimism and always betting the under in Nashville SC games. So let’s buck that trend and add some positivity here. The defense is Top 5 in MLS. Despite the one bad moment Walker Zimmerman is a rock and extending his contract a few weeks ago was a great move. Dax and Godoy are a great partnership to sit in front of the back four. No team has had success breaking it down. Even last night the first goal was quick counter attack and the second was when Nashville was chasing the match late. It’s a great foundation to build on, but it’s past time to get started. Optimistically, others are starting to see the light. The Tennessean’s Gentry Estes wrote after the match that Nashville SC badly needs a goal scoring forward. Paul Kuharsky, never one to be a fanboy, replied to a Wes Boling tweet that Nashville out shot Atlanta 29-12 over the two matches with, “Very generous to call much of what Nashville hit last night shots. Incredibly unthreatening. A header that went backwards!” Hopefully others stop quoting stats like shots and xG. IF they do, they shouldn’t site it as evidence that the team has been unlucky and things will get better. No, it’s evidence that no one on the roster has the quality to finish.
Inaugural Season Success Hangs in Balance
Nashville SC needed a DP 9 before the season started. Even if they sign one tomorrow it likely won’t be an immediate miracle cure. Players need time to settle. Just look and the early struggles for Leal and Mukhtar. No one needs this DP 9 more than those two. Ten teams out of 14 will make the playoffs from the Eastern Conference. If Nashville wants to be one and have any chance they need to make this signing now. If not, they should be up front with fans and say they are just participating in MLS this year. We are about a month away from the MLS players union releasing salaries. I fully expect Nashville SC to have one of the cheapest rosters in the league. Recall, Ian Ayre has said many times they would spend at least in the mid range of teams. The club is spending a ton on a new stadium and residential development academy. It’s time to spend on the roster.