We’re continuing our Nashville SC report cards with a look at Taylor Washington.
Position: Left wing / left-back
Matches played: 17
Minutes played: 533
Goals added: -0.09 (79th among MLS wingers)
xPass Score: 6.67 (7th among MLS wingers)
Average Speedway Soccer rating: 6.7
Average WhoScored rating: 6.3
What went right in 2020?
The four players signed from Nashville SC’s USL squad weren’t promised significant roles in year one. In fact, general manager Mike Jacobs said “these guys will start out with roles you more commonly associate with college draft picks… My hope is that they’re going to come in the same way they have in USL and put themselves in spots to earn meaningful minutes.”
About Washington specifically, Jacobs said, “his ability to cover ground on the flank is what got him drafted into MLS, and now is what’s getting him back into the league.”
Much like in USL, athleticism was a key component of Washington’s game. His pace was equally as formidable at the MLS level, and his workrate was undiminished. As in USL, he fluctuated between a left-back role and playing more advanced as a winger.
With one of the league’s best in Dan Lovitz nailing down the left-back role, Washington saw most of his minutes as a late-game substitute on the wings to either provide an attacking spark or maintain a lead. His one start at left back came in a 1-0 win over DC United, where he looked very comfortable at the MLS level.
After starting the season on the fringes, Washington worked his way into a squad regular role, and looks set to contribute more in 2021.
What went wrong in 2020?
This may be starting to sound old, but not much went wrong. Washington was a low risk signing, but ended up paying high rewards. While 533 minutes isn’t on the high side, he was consistently one of the first options off the bench, and making 17 appearances in his first MLS season is a big deal.
What needs to improve in 2021?
It remains to be seen what the schedule will look like, but if the season doesn’t start in March and is condensed again, Washington could start to snag more minutes at left-back from Dan Lovitz, who will turn 30 mid-season. With more depth on the wings on the way, Washington will have his work cut out to get on the field as regularly.
His crossing steadily improved throughout the year. If he can continue to build on that, he’ll become an even better deputy left-back for Nashville.
Most memorable moment
Washington’s loan assist of the season was a special one, with a perfectly placed cross setting up Abu Danladi for a relatively easy finish.