NASHVILLE, TN – Ahead of the Wednesday night Leagues Cup showcase match against Liga MX giants Club América, Nashville SC have brought back four players who had gone on loan to USL Championship sides.
Goalkeeper Bryan Meredith and midfielder Irakoze Donasiyano have been brought back from their loans with Indy Eleven and Phoenix Rising, respectively. The pair will finish the 2022 season with Nashville SC. Defender Josh Bauer and winger Handwalla Bwana are back from Sacramento Republic and Memphis 901 FC, and will return to their loans after Wednesday’s friendly.
Meredith, 33, played just 231 minutes for Indy Eleven. He conceded eight goals from 14 shots faced, albeit for a leaky Indy defense. His last appearance came against San Diego Loyal on June 25, suffering an injury to his finger in the 32nd minute, and has been out of action since.
Donasiyano, Nashville’s first pick of the 2021 MLS SuperDraft, impressed in his stint with Phoenix Rising. The versatile 24-year-old played 14 matches for Phoenix, starting eight. Per American Soccer Analysis‘s Goals Added metric, his score was around the middle of the pack for USL midfielders, on par with former Nashville stalwart Matt LaGrassa. His 83.9% pass completion rating, though, was the 16th best in USL during his time in Phoenix, and the regular playing time was valuable for a player who is still highly rated by Nashville’s techincal staff.
Both Indy Eleven (10th in the East) and Phoenix Rising (12th in the West) are out of the USL playoff picture, and with just four matches left in their seasons, Nashville opted to bring them back and have them train with their first team for the remainder of the season.
Josh Bauer has played eight matches for Sacramento Republic, starting six. A standout for Atlanta United 2 in the 2021 season, Bauer is an above-average USL Championship defender, and has become a consistent face in Sacramento’s lineup as they push for silverware. After falling to Orlando City in their history run to the US Open Cup final, they’re in fourth place in the Western Conference, and a favorite to win USL Cup.
Handwalla Bwana has scored once in his four matches with Memphis 901 FC, starting once and coming off the bench in three. Memphis are in second place in the East, and like Sacramento, have a real chance at making a mark in the postseason.
Robert Castellanos is the final player on loan. The center back has been a mainstay for third-placed Tampa Bay Rowdies, starting five of six matches since returning to the Rowdies since fracturing his ankle back in March, just 13 minutes into his first match on loan. He will not join Nashville for the Leagues Cup match and will stay on loan for the remainder of the season.