Next up in our 2020 report card series: Nashville SC forward Abu Danladi.
Position: Forward / winger
Matches played: 17
Minutes played: 644
Goals added: -0.30 (52nd among MLS strikers)
xG+xA: 2.98 (47th among MLS strikers)
Average Speedway Soccer rating: 6.5
Average WhoScored rating: 6.5
What went right in 2020?
Selected with Nashville’s first pick in the 2019 expansion draft, Danladi was never a nailed-down starter, but when healthy was one of the first names off the bench.
When on the field, Danladi was actually incredibly effective. His 0.44 goal contributions per 96 minutes played was the third on the team, behind only Daniel Ríos and Hany Mukhtar.
With David Accam out of the picture for much of the season, Danladi was Nashville’s de facto “vertical threat”. His pace gave Nashville an added dimension, and he showed an ability to link up well with the rest of the attack outside the box.
Playing either on the right or through the center, Danladi found himself the only healthy striker during a stretch in October, where he got his most consistent spell of playing time. His best performance came as the starting forward in a 3-4-3 against Houston, where he scored a goal and assisted another in a 3-1 win.
What went wrong in 2020?
As has been the case throughout his MLS career, injuries took their toll on Danladi. He missed eight matches through injury, and was limited to cameos in many others as he worked to regain fitness. Even when he was available, he was rarely available to play 90 minutes, or even lengthier substitute appearances.
On the field, though, it’s hard to poke too many holes in Danladi’s 2020 season.
What needs to improve in 2021?
Staying healthy is easier said than done, but with new signings on the wings and the emergence of Daniel Ríos and Jhonder Cádiz, getting on the field will be tough enough. If Danladi misses significant time with injury, it’s hard to see him playing much of a role in 2021.
Even if he can stay available, minutes will be tough to come by. With a long season full of international callups, though, Gary Smith will have to rotate his squad somewhat regularly, and Danladi should have chances to get on the field. If he’s able to maintain his 2020 numbers and stay available more consistently, he should be able to carve out a bigger role for himself.
Most memorable moment
Danladi got his second goal in a Nashville shirt with a well-taken header from a Taylor Washington cross.