Nashville SC 2020 Report Card: Alistair Johnston

We’re continuing our Nashville SC report cards with a look at Alistair Johnston.

Position: Right-back
Matches played: 21
Minutes played: 1,801
Goals: 0
Assists: 1
Goals added: -0.22 (81st among MLS fullbacks)
xPass Score: 2.97 (61st among MLS fullbacks)
Goals conceded: 15
Average Speedway Soccer rating: 7.0
Average WhoScored rating: 6.9

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Graphic courtesy American Soccer Analysis

What went right in 2020?

As mentioned in our previous report cards, right-back was a major issue for Nashville to start the season. Johnston saw his first action as a right midfielder, but but the end of August he had nailed down the starting right-back job.

Johnston immediately solidified the backline, proving to be the missing piece in the equation. His energy to get up and down the flank gave Nashville an outlet in possession, and his work rate is up there with the best in the squad.

His final ball into the box was inconsistent to start, but by the end of the year he was consistently putting in dangerous service to the forwards.

What went wrong in 2020?

Not a whole lot. Johnston had a few growing pains, but nothing out of the ordinary for a first year pro. He was guilty of a couple poor giveaways at times, including one in Columbus that cost Nashville a goal:

Johnston also had the unfortunate honor of being the only Nashville player to receive a red card, getting sent off against Sporting KC in a second-half collapse that saw Nashville squander an early lead.

At the end of the day, though, it’s hard to criticize Johnston much. He exceeded expectations as a rookie, and improved one of the league’s best defenses.

What needs to improve in 2021?

His crossing steadily improved throughout the year, and it would be nice to see him continue that trend. With Lovitz on the left, Nashville already has one of the better crossers in the league. Matching that with more accurate service on the opposite flank would be a deadly combination.

Now a Canadian international, Johnston’s career is on a great trajectory.

Most memorable moment

Plenty of great play on the field, but fans will always remember the year that Johnston became Nashville SC’s official meteorologist.

2020 Grade: A-

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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