Interview: Alex Muyl and Dave Romney

Nashville SC’s Alex Muyl and Dave Romney spoke to the in-house media team following training yesterday. Watch their interviews and read a transcript of their conversation below.

Alex Muyl

On getting a full preseason: “It’s been great. Preseason’s a huge part of gelling with your team, getting up to speed at the same time, and working on things that will carry you through the rest of the season. So for me to get an entire preseason is really important and I’m really enjoying it. And I’m really excited about the way the team looks right now.”

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On his sharpness coming into the season: “Yeah, this season especially I did a lot of the things that help you hit the ground running. I knew that was important with this group. One thing that’s really impressed me about this group is that there are so many guys who are willing to come in early and really get their bodies ready, and I think that’s allowed us to translate to the field in a much sharper and more effective way.”

On working with assistant coach Steve Guppy: “Honestly it’s given me a new inspiration on my career. I’m working on things I’ve never worked on before and I really feel the difference. It’s given me confidence and kind of an obsession with trying to get better. He’s an amazing resource. There are a lot of people here who are amazing resources, players and staff. So I’m just trying to take advantage of that and trying to re-invent some of the parts of my game that I can, and I think it’s exciting for me.”

On what he’s expecting from the Louisville friendly: “So obviously matches in preseason are super important. A, from the physical side, you have to get used to what it feels like to be in a competitive match again. But B, also as a way to gauge where you are and the work you’ve been doing. For us, obviously, I think we’re looking forward to the match against Louisville and all the matches that come after that as well.”

On confidence from last season carrying over: “I think after last year, we know a little bit who we are. And coming in and being able to see that those same traits are there, that same hunger is there, it’s encouraging to see. [Gary Smith] is seeing a group of guys who are excited, and who aren’t comfortable and happy with what happened last year and who want to achieve more and build off of that success.”

On facing his former team, New York Red Bulls, in an upcoming friendly: “It’s been strange. The first thing I did was I came back to Red Bull Arena to play a different team which was a bit of a dream scenario, it didn’t seem real. And now I’m playing against them in preseason. So in a way I’m kind of getting the most eased into having to face them again. But I’m already texting those guys. We’re super excited. And I’m just excited to go out and compete against them. I don’t know, hopefully we get a result against them, but if not, I’ll be happy regardless, and I think it’s going to be great to see those guys again and be on the field with them.”

Dave Romney

On the differences in preseason this year versus Nashville’s expansion year: “Just the connections you have with the players around you, the team, what Gary wants in general. The whole six weeks and even into the season last year was building on the foundation of how he wanted us to defend, how he wanted us to build out of the back, different things here and there. But just feeling out the basics of those, and now we already know all those. So just picking out little things here or there to kind of tinker and teach us how to add onto what we did last year.”

On the consistent back four last year: “You got guys with just the same characteristics. All hardworking, good MLS players who have always been kinda blue collar guys, but still with the quality to play on the ball. So it’s been a good mix of guys who have the same mentality, the same kind of culture, and then just good friends off the field. And then with Walker, just a lot of communication. Yeah, I don’t know. It’s easy to play next to him.”

On what he hopes to get out of Saturday’s friendly: “Just build off of what Gary’s asked the past couple weeks. Just a little specifics on building out. Recently he’s talked some specifics of how he wants to press in certain situations, and then how we want to defend better in the middle third of the field. He thought our pressing was good last year in their half, our kinda low block was really good, but he wanted to work on that middle block. So working on that, and then getting 30 minutes under our belt, or 45. However long he wants to play us, just getting the legs pumping a bit more.”

On a career best year in 2020: “It’s the culmination of a lot of year. A lot of years putting in work. A lot of years just kind of spot starting here or there. I played 29-30 games two of those years, but still, just kind of never being the first choice guy was kind of frustrating. So I got to get out a lot of build-up frustration last year and establishing myself as a starter, and proving my worth felt good.”

On how Nashville takes the next step in 2021: “Just the things we’ve been working on so far defensively. I’m sure we’re gonna go into more things offensively with the ball, but working on not getting so deep in that low block sometimes late in games, how we get pressure on guys in the middle third of the field, working on our pressing. And then having more chemistry in the final third, just kind of finishing off that last pass or shot. We’ve got quality players, and I think we’ll definitely find our stride this year.”

Video footage courtesy Nashville SC

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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