We’re continuing our 2020 Nashville SC report card series with a look at Jhonder Cádiz.
Matches played: 10
Minutes played: 489
Goals added: -0.75 (71st among MLS strikers)
xG+xA: 1.74 (65th among MLS strikers)
Average Speedway Soccer rating: 7.0
Average WhoScored rating: 6.6
What went right in 2020?
Signed as a desperately-needed DP striker, Cádiz arrived in Nashville late in the season, and without having played a competitive match in nearly nine months. Despite this, he pretty quickly worked himself into the XI as the first choice striker.
At 6-3, he fits the model of target striker Gary Smith wants in his system. He’s strong with his back to goal, faster than he looks, and makes unselfish runs to pull defenders out of position. He improved Nashville’s attack, even if he didn’t light the league on fire.
A focal point in attack, Cádiz gave Nashville a reference point in the final third and opened up all kids of space for Hany Mukhtar underneath. The two were very effective when on the field together, and it bodes well for 2021.
What went wrong in 2020?
Fitness was a real issue for Cádiz, unsurprisingly. While he looked like a really good player at times, he was never operating at 100%. He tended to look sluggish towards the end of his shifts, and ran out of steam well before other players on the pitch.
A lack of match sharpness showed itself a couple of times, with a few miss-timed runs or poor finishes ending promising moves. But overall, it’s hard to fault Cádiz, who was the victim of a Covid-impacted calendar.
What needs to improve in 2021?
Nashville’s technical staff has been explicit from the outset that Cádiz won’t be at his best until 2021. With a full preseason and a more normal schedule, this season should give fans and coaches alike a more accurate look at him as a player.
The delayed season really doesn’t do Nashville any favors. Initially scheduled to begin in early March, the 2021 MLS season won’t begin until mid-April, after delays in CBA negotiations pushed the kickoff back.
Cádiz’s loan is up at the end of June. Nashville have a purchase option they can trigger at any time, but really need to see enough from Cádiz to warrant spending the money. Losing a month and a half of matches really hurts that, and they’ll have to make a call based on a smaller sample size than they would have liked.
It would take significant struggles for Nashville to back out, but Cádiz will need to take full advantage of every chance in front of goal from the outset, and get to a fitness level where he can be a regular 90 minute contributor.
Most memorable moment
Cádiz’s headed goal to cap off an improbable comeback in Orlando was one of the best moments of Nashville’s inaugural season.
2020 Grade: C*
We’re not giving incomplete grades in this series, but if any Nashville player deserves one, it’s Cádiz.