Josh Bauer: 2023 report card

Josh Bauer took a step forward as a valuable depth piece for Nashville SC in 2023, covering for injuries ahead of him and providing answers at a position of need.

Josh Bauer 2023 grade: B-

2023 by the numbers

Matches played: 16 (20th on Nashville SC)
Minutes played: 1,102 (16th on Nashville SC)
Goals: 0
Assists: 0
Clean sheets: 1

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2023 in review

With Nick DePuy injured, Bauer operated as the nominal third center back on Nashville’s roster for the opening stretch of the season, although he didn’t make his season debut until April 22, one match before the club traded for Lukas MacNaughton.

After starting all three of Nashville’s U.S. Open Cup matches, Bauer began to see more minutes on the pitch, starting six matches in MLS and Leagues Cup to cover for injuries to MacNaughton and Jack Maher.

Nashville conceded 13 goals in the 10 matches Bauer started, including a wild 4-3 loss to Toluca in the Leagues Cup in which the entire defense struggled. Overall, though, Bauer played a larger role than anyone expected at the start of the season and never looked out of place on the pitch.

Looking forward

Nashville have a log jam at center back to deal with in the offseason. Nick DePuy has yet to play a minute in gold, and while a starting-quality center back, Nashville didn’t part with much in the trade, sending just $50,000 in GAM and a SuperDraft pick the other way. He’s on an option year, and Nashville could easily opt to let him walk in favor of Bauer, who will likely be more agreeable to a depth role and do it at a much lower budget charge.

Nashville General Manager Mike Jacobs has a history of keeping a lower-budget center back option on the squad (Ken Tribbett, Robert Castellanos, etc), and Bauer fits that role. On the back of a solid 2023 season, keeping him in gold wouldn’t be a bad option.

Moment of the season

Bauer started and played the full 90 minutes for Nashville in their Leagues Cup Round of 32 win over FC Cincinnati, holding the eventual Supporters’ Shield winners to a single goal, four shots on target, and their first loss at TQL Stadium of 2023.

Previous report cards:

Joe Willis (A-) | Dan Lovitz (A) | Lukas MacNaughton (A) | Jack Maher (A-) | Dax McCarty (B+) | Fafà Picault (A) | Randall Leal (D) | Sam Surridge (B-) | Hany Mukhtar (B-) | Ethan Zubak (D) | Teal Bunbury (C-) | Jacob Shaffelburg (B-) | Shaq Moore (B) | Alex Muyl (B+) | Aníbal Godoy (C+)

Author: Ben Wrightis the Director of Soccer Content and a Senior MLS Contributor for Broadway Sports covering Nashville SC and the US National Team. Previously Ben was the editor and a founder of Speedway Soccer, where he has covered Nashville SC and their time in USL before journeying to Major League Soccer since 2018. Raised in Louisville, KY Ben grew up playing before a knee injury ended his competitive career. When he is not talking soccer he is probably producing music, drinking coffee or hanging out with his wife and kids. Mastodon

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