Nashville SC 2024 season preview

Nashville SC kick off their 2024 campaign on Thursday night, taking on Dominican Republic outfit Moca FC in the Concacaf Champions Cup. Ahead of the Coyotes’ fifth year in MLS, we’re making our predictions for how the season will play out. Read on for predictions from our panel of Ben Wright, Chris Ivey, Jeff Remlinger, Jonathan Slape, Josh Young and Valair Shabilla.

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What counts as a successful season for Nashville SC?

Ben Wright: Top four in the East, a deep run in the Leagues Cup, and advancing a couple rounds into the MLS Playoffs. Not sure this team as currently built is good enough to do that, but their defense always gives them a high enough floor to overperform in the table.

Chris Ivey: Finish top 4 or win a trophy (neither happens).

Jeff Remlinger: Top four in the east. But I don’t think this roster is currently good enough to have a successful season.

Jonathan Slape: A top four finish in the Eastern Conference and an appearance in the Conference Semifinals.

Josh Young: A strong CCC run and MLS Cup playoff advancement.

Valair Shabilla: Winning a trophy.

What are Nashville’s biggest strengths?

Ben: Defense. Duh.

Chris: Defensive rigidity + Hany Mukhtar.

Jeff: Defense, obviously. But they’re very strong on the flanks as well. Their fullbacks and wingers will be extremely important to overcome their weak midfield.

Slape: The defense.

Josh: Defense, experience, Hany Mukhtar, and I think Sam Surridge could have a massive year.

Valair: Solid spine, great organization at the back and a whole lot of “intangibles.”

What are Nashville’s biggest weaknesses?

Ben: Creating consistent scoring chances or developing predictable patterns of play. They still can’t break down a low- or mid-block and revert to crossing nearly every time they get into the final third. Other than Mukhtar’s individual improvement and making a few key signings, they haven’t really improved or even changed tactically going forward since 2021. They’ve actually regressed. It’s a big concern.

Chris: Breaking down an organized defense.

Jeff: Midfield – connecting defense to attack.

Slape: Their inability to break down a defense especially if Mukhtar is having an off game, and an aging midfield with too many similar options.

Josh: Stale, agricultural midfield, meat and potatoes tactics without strong ideas of what they want to do WITH the ball. Lack of consistent playmaking.

Valair: Quality depth, a not so focused Hany Mukhtar and roster management.

Will Nashville SC make the playoffs in 2024?

Ben: Yes
Chris: Yes
Jeff: Yes
Slape: No
Josh: Yes
Valair: Yes

Will Nashville SC make the playoffs in 2024?

Ben: Yes
Chris: Yes
Jeff: Yes
Slape: No
Josh: Yes
Valair: Yes

Will Nashville win MLS Cup in 2024?

All: No

Will Nashville finish with more goals than they did in 2023? (39)

All: Yes

Will Gary Smith still be Nashville SC’s coach at the end of 2024?

Ben: Yes
Chris: No
Jeff: Yes
Slape: No
Josh: Yes
Valair: Yes

Will Gary Smith still be Nashville SC’s coach at the end of 2024?

Ben: Yes
Chris: No
Jeff: Yes
Slape: No
Josh: Yes
Valair: Yes

Who will score the most goals for Nashville in 2024?

Ben: Sam Surridge
Chris: Hany Mukhtar
Jeff: Hany Mukhtar
Slape: Sam Surridge
Josh: Hany Mukhtar
Valair: Sam Surridge

Who will have the most assists for Nashville in 2024?

All: Hany Mukhtar

Who will be Nashville’s breakout player in 2024?

Ben: McKinze Gaines
Chris: Adem Sipić after an injury forces Teal Bunbury to miss time.
Jeff: Dru Yearwood
Slape: Tyler Boyd
Josh: Dru Yearwood
Valair: Tyler Boyd

Who will be Nashville’s team MVP in 2024?

Ben: Hany Mukhtar
Chris: Hany Mukhtar
Jeff: Hany Mukhtar
Slape: Sam Surridge
Josh: Hany Mukhtar
Valair: Hany Mukhtar

What is your bold prediction for Nashville SC in 2024?

Ben: McKinze Gaines will finish the year with 10+ goal contributions and Elliot Panicco will be the starting ‘keeper by the end of the year.

Chris: Gary Smith is let go after Leagues Cup following a winless June and July.

Jeff: Nashville will be aggressive in the summer. I think seats are warming up in Nashville, and the decision-makers will feel the pressure after a subpar start. An overpaid, underperforming midfield and an abundance of elite defenders means they have moves to make. And I think they’ll make as many as they can.

Slape: Nashville struggles to move Randall Leal and ends up buying out his contract in the summer.

Josh: 20 goals for Sam Surridge.

Valair: Nashville SC win Concacaf Champions Cup.

Random thoughts

Josh: This has been a better transfer window than they’ve had in quite a while. Two genuine new options in central midfield, additions of Boyd and Gaines, and then if Surridge starts off as hot as I think he can, (he’s got the “like a new signing” feel)… All of sudden there could be a lot of new faces making positive contributions. When you pretty much know what you’re going to get tactically, as we do now in year seven of watching Gary Smith, those personnel changes have to be the thing that makes the difference.

Valair: Nashville SC Ssn 7: Antioch Drift.


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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