Nashville SC had three players on international duty this preseason. Aníbal Godoy, Randall Leal and Alistair Johnston each represented their respective countries in World Cup and Olympic qualifying. Let’s check in on the Boys In Gold to see how they fared.
Aníbal Godoy – Panama
Aníbal Godoy appeared in both Panama’s qualifiers this window. The midfielder earned his 100th international cap in a 1-0 win over Barbados and went the full 90 minutes.
Godoy also started Panama’s next match, going 64 minutes in a 2-1 win over Dominica. With the win, Panama are tied on points with the Dominican Republic, but have to make up five goals to overtake them. They’ll take on Anguila on July 5 before a showdown with the Dominican Republic in their final match of the group stage, which will likely determine which of the two will advance to Round 2 of qualifying.
Randall Leal – Costa Rica U23
Randall Leal started all three of Costa Rica’s Concacaf Olympic Qualifying Championship matches. Often playing in a central midfield role, the Nashville SC designated player struggled to get involved at times, but was one of the few bright spots in a disappointing showing for Los Ticos.
Leal’s best showing came in Costa Rica’s 5-0 win over the Dominican Republic. Playing in an almost box-to-box role in a 4-3-3, Leal controlled the game for the Ticos. He set up their first goal with a great delivery from deep, before scoring two of his own to seal the win. While his first took a pair of deflections on its way to the back of the net, the second was an unstoppable low drive to the near post.
Although Costa Rica didn’t advance from their group, Leal is a regular for their senior team. He should be involved in their Concacaf Nations League semifinal against Mexico in June.
Alistair Johnston – Canada
After a breakout rookie season, Nashville’s right back slash weatherman was left off of Canada’s Olympic qualifying roster in order to go to World Cup qualifying with the full senior side. The 22-year-old earned his first international cap off the bench in a 5-1 win over Bermuda before getting his first start against the Cayman Islands.
Playing opposite Bayern Munich superstar Alphonso Davies, Johnston looked completely comfortable in Canada’s system, aleit against one of the minnows of Concacaf. The defender marked his first start with a goal, burying a shot with his weak foot following a really nice layoff from David Wotherspoon.
Johnston added an assist, setting up Vancouver’s Lucas Cavallini with his last kick of the game, which ended up being an 11-0 bloodbath.
Johnston will have his work cut out to take the starting job from Richie Laryea, but after a positive showing in his first two appearances, he should continue to be involved with the national team going forward. The Canucks currently top Group B, tied on points with Suriname but well ahead on goal difference. They’ll take on Aruba and Suriname in early June in a bid to win the group and advance to Round 2.