Ivey’s Three Thoughts: Nashville SC reaches their low point

Nashville SC reached their low point as a club with a 4-1 loss to expansion club Charlotte FC. It was the largest margin of defeat in the club’s professional history. 

Ordinarily, I would dive into my three thoughts on the match. But today feels different. There is just one overarching thought.

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Nashville must quickly clear up its well-known warts 

In a vacuum, Nashville’s three-goal loss to Charlotte was a lousy lump to take. But it is hard to ignore the broader context of the defeat. It comes amid a string of poor results. Since the start of June, Nashville has posted a record of one win, two draws, and three losses. It is the worst six-match stretch since the club’s first set of matches as an expansion club. Based on overall vibes, it is the lowest point this club has ever been. 

I would be more upset if it was not an entirely predictable result. Nashville SC have always been a “competitive” club, but they have several warts that have existed in plain view throughout the first half of the season. If Nashville want to truly contend for trophies rather than settle for the amorphous goal of competitiveness, something has to change.

We at Broadway Sports Media and Speedway Soccer have previously highlighted these warts at various times.

On Nashville’s depth problem:

A section on the worrying home form:

On Gary Smith’s substitution patterns and the bench:

A section on Alex Muyl’s struggles in the defensive third:

On penalty kick problems:

A section on set-piece defending:

On Nashville’s entire roster entering the international break:

A section on goalkeeping errors and a section on Aké Loba occupying a DP slot:

I’ll speak for myself, but I like to think that we are not one to pull punches. We try to offer fair and balanced coverage of the good and the bad. We’ll celebrate the beauty of Nashville’s performances as an expansion club while also pointing out the blemishes.

Let’s be clear. There is a lot to celebrate about what Nashville has accomplished in its first two and half years as an MLS club. A successful initial roster build that yielded playoff wins and an astonishingly low rate of losses absolutely should not be forgotten.

But this is a club that has espoused championship ambitions. They hold themselves to a high standard, just as the supporters do. The growing sense of anger and disappointment among the fanbase is a reflection of those standards. But Nashville will continue to fall short of those expectations if changes are not made.  

Nashville’s warts are plainly evident. The abysmal performance in Charlotte continued to highlight the long-standing issues. Alex Muyl’s poor defensive positioning in the final third created the void which led to Charlotte earning a penalty. Loba’s production remains far below the standard of a Designated Player, with the Ivorian failing to make an impact when Nashville needed it most. Finally, the remaining attacking options off the bench continued to represent a downgrade from years past. 

They are the same topics that have been discussed ad nauseam for months now by us here at BSM and many other outlets that cover the Coyotes.

With the recent string of poor performances, Nashville should be very concerned about its present ability to legitimately compete for MLS Cup. But there’s no reason to throw the baby out with the bath water. It’s not time to blow up the roster, coaching staff, or front office.

But it is also not the time for the club to sit on its hands and do nothing. Changes needed to be made and new players brought in to address the well-known issues that presently plague Nashville SC. 

Gary Smith is right to not tip the club’s hand as it pertains to the summer transfer window in weekly press conferences. Loose lips sink ships and quickly destroy negotiating leverage. But Nashville supporters will want to see the club take concrete action in the next few weeks to address the long-standing deficiencies before the hopes of another home playoff match melt away in the summer heat. 

Author: Chris IveyChris is a senior writer covering Nashville SC. His writings focus on the team at large and often navigate the complexity of roster building around the myriad of MLS rules. Outside of Broadway Sports Media, Chris resides in Knoxville and is a licensed attorney. Beyond NSC, he is always willing to discuss Tennessee football and basketball, Coventry City, and USMNT. Follow Chris on Twitter

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