On Wednesday August 7, 2019, Nashville SC announced they have acquired defensive midfielder Anibal Godoy from the San Jose Earthquakes. While a long time good MLS player, Nashville SC paid way too much allocation money in the trade. Worse, Nashville SC appears to be building the roster to similar to how FC Cincinnati did by using most of its allocation money for acquisitions instead of a higher salary budget. Godoy, a 29 year old Panamanian international, joined the Quakes in 2015 and has made 99 appearances with the club, including 13 this season. While a good MLS player the fee paid seems exorbitant. Nashville SC sent $650,000 of General Allocation Money (GAM) to San Jose to acquire the player. Like David Accam, Nashville SC’s other big MLS signing, Godoy will finish 2019 with the Quakes as the deal is effective Jan. 1. I don’t have any issue with MLS quality players not joining Nashville SC while they finish their final USL season. To keep sharp, it is better to play at the highest level possible. Going down to USL even briefly could have a negative impact as we saw last year with FC Cincinnati and Adi. However, I do have an issue with how this signing is similar to the way FC Cincinnati build their roster last year.
The purpose of GAM and TAM is increase your salary cap. You don’t want to throw it away to acquire players. Especially a 29 year old defensive midfielder. Nashville SC could have gotten an equivalent player for far less. This hurts on two levels. First, Mike Jacobs has been clear that Nashville won’t spend like LA, Atlanta or Miami. Kansas City has been consistently thrown out as the model the club will follow. That said, John Ingram is a billionaire who could afford to field a high salaried team. The fact they are using GAM/TAM to acquire players shows there is no interest at this time in trying to field the best team possible. Nissan Stadium is going to be impossible to fill next season. I wasn’t a fan of the cheapest ticket price being $25, but if they spend on the roster I could live with it. Putting a competitive team on the field year one is the best way to build the fanbase. While still early, it is starting to appear that is not going to happen. Open your wallet John Ingram!
Just as worrying is Nashville seems to be building its roster similar to the way FC Cincinnati did last year. Why they would do this makes no sense. If you haven’t looked at the MLS standings, FC Cincinnati is by far the worst team in MLS. It’s not even close. Their -32 goal differential is 15 goals worse that the 2nd worst team in MLS (Vancouver). One of Cincinnati’s big mistakes besides missing on players like Adi and Saief, was using GAM and TAM to acquire players. Nashville SC has already spent over a million Garber Bucks on just two players (they spent $450,000 to acquire David Accam). Hopefully, this is the last time Mike Jacobs chooses to use allocation money to acquire players, but sadly for fans of the Boys in Gold it just may be the beginning. It’s even more frustrating when you see Inter Miami has started their MLS roster by signing three South American teenagers spending zero allocation money. Almost every soccer writer not directly connected to Nashville SC said it was a confusing and horrible move by the club. Don’t believe me here is just a sample of reactions from Ives Galarcep, Sam Stejskal and Taylor Twellman all saying San Jose took Nashville to the cleaners.