Report: Nashville SC interested in right back Shaq Moore

By Ben Wright and Chris Ivey.

Nashville SC are interested in acquiring USMNT and CD Tenerife right-back Shaq Moore on loan, first reported by ESPN‘s Jeff Carlisle. CF Montréal are also interested. Nashville just traded starting right back Alistair Johnston to Montréal for $1 million in General Allocation Money.

Moore, 25, has made 87 appearances in La Liga 2, in addition to being capped 13 times by the United States. Moore started all six matches of the 2021 Gold Cup and scored one goal, and also played in World Cup qualifiers against Jamaica and Panama in October.

Nashville are in the market for a right back. General manager Mike Jacobs has publicly stated the club’s goal to add more attacking output from the right back position.

“We were actually hoping to upgrade at right back,” he told media following the SuperDraft. “I think we felt this last year, whether it’s quality of crosses, whether it’s more execution on that flank, it’s something that we wanted to try and improve on.”

With the departure of Alistair Johnston, Eric Miller appears to be the current option at right back. Miller has made 22 appearances for Nashville in two seasons, and started both 2021 playoff matches. Miller has just one assist in over 1,800 minutes in gold. Alex Muyl is a theoretical option at wingback in Nashville’s 3-4-1-2 system, although the winger saw more time in a central role last season that he did as an outside back.

What Moore could add to Nashville’s attack

Jacobs identified the need for increased production from the right wing. As beloved as Alistair Johnston was in Nashville, he only tallied one assist in his two seasons with the club.

Moore is lauded as an excellent crosser that can help serve in balls to Nashville’s attackers. 

Moore likes to get further up the field and is not afraid of making a back post run to capitalize on vacated space. Moore tallied his first career goal for the USMNT this summer with exactly this type of movement. 

Moore boasts plenty of pace, and is a direct runner down the right flank. While primarily getting involved on the overlap, he’s not afraid of drifting inside occasionally to pick a different angle to receive the ball. His crossing is a clear strength, with his early, driven crosses reminiscent of Nashville’s Dan Lovitz.

Defensively, he’s positionally sound and alert to trailing runners in the box. His recovery speed and ability to influence the game on both sides of the ball would be a significant upgrade for Nashville, and would instantly improve their attacking output from the right flank.

Moore, 25, came through the IMG Academy pipeline and briefly trained with FC Dallas before moving abroad, eventually signing with La Liga 2 side Huracán. Moore spent stints with Oviedo and Levante, where he made six appearances in La Liga and became just the fourth American to play in the Spanish top flight. Since 2019, Moore has played in La Liga 2 with Tenerife, where he’s amassed 86 appearances in all competitions and has seven assists in just over 6,000 minutes.

Internationally, Moore has 13 caps for the US Men’s National Team. He was a fixture in a heavily rotated Gold Cup squad this summer, making six appearances. He’s made just two appearances in World Cup qualifying since, with a source citing a desire for more playing time internationally as a motivating factor for a potential move. With spots on the right back depth chart widely viewed as up for grabs, a strong showing in MLS could improve Moore’s standing in the national team picture heading into Qatar.

A Georgia native, returning to Nashville would bring Moore closer to family after two years of pandemic-restricted international travel, and would see him slot in as an immediate starter for one of the best backlines in MLS. 

CF Montréal currently hold Moore’s discovery rights, requiring Nashville to complete a trade with Montréal before any deal with CD Tenerife could be made official. Recent MLS trades for a player’s discovery rights have ranged from $50,000 GAM to $150,000 GAM. However, the final price could end up being higher for Nashville as Moore is a recognizable figure with a national team profile. This MLS offseason has been marked by an increase in the amount of allocation money necessary to complete intra-league trades, with international spots and discovery rights going for a premium.

Nashville SC are currently in preseason training camp in Bradenton, Florida, ahead of their 2022 MLS opener in Seattle on February 27.

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