We’re continuing our Nashville SC report cards with a look at Eric Miller.
Matches played: 7
Minutes played: 472
Goals added: -0.34 (98th among MLS fullbacks)
xPass Score: 0.30 (75th among MLS fullbacks)
Goals conceded: 6
Average Speedway Soccer rating: 5.8
Average WhoScored rating: 6.1
What went right in 2020?
Miller started the season as Nashville’s first-choice right back after joining via the re-entry draft. He started their inaugural MLS match against Atlanta and the following week in Portland.
He also had a couple moments towards the end of the season where he got on the field and looked good, particularly in Nashville’s 3-1 win in Houston. Miller went 90 minutes as a right wing-back in a back five, and had some nice passes, including one leading up to Hany Mukhtar’s opening goal.
What went wrong in 2020?
Miller was at least partially responsible for two of the first three goals Nashville conceded. In the home opener against Atlanta he ran right past an on-the-ball Ezequiel Barco, giving him 15 yards of space to score the opener.
Things didn’t get much better the following week, where he kept Portland’s Diego Valeri onside to score the winner.
After that, Miller lost out on the starting role, benched for Brayan Beckeles, Jalil Anibaba and eventually Alistair Johnston.
What needs to improve in 2021?
Miller remains in negotiations with Nashville to return for 2021. If he does come back, he’ll be in a backup role to Alistair Johnston, the clear answer at right-back moving forward.
Playing as a depth option seems like a good fit for Miller, who had moments off the bench down the stretch, and seemed more comfortable playing in a back five than in Nashville’s usual back four setup. With plenty of MLS experience and a leader in the MLS Players Association, he’s not a bad reserve option to have.
Most memorable moment
Unfortunately for Miller, it was probably the goal Nashville conceded in Portland.