Nashville SC announced Tuesday that they’ve recalled goalkeeper Elliot Panicco from hsi loan with USL Championship side Indy Eleven. Panicco, 25, was selected 13th overall in the 2020 SuperDraft. He served as Joe Willis’s primary backup for the 2020 season before going on loan to Austin Bold in 2021 and Indy Eleven in 2022.
Panicco is highly thought of by Nashville’s technical staff, and his numbers at the USL level show a solid, if unspectacular, shot stopper. In just over 3,500 minutes, Panicco saved 92 of 129 shots he faced and conceded a 1.02 goals over his expected goals. At Indy, he played behind the second-best defense in the USL Championship, allowing just 10 goals in their first 10 games of the season.
The timing of the move is especially interesting. Joe Willis has played every competitive minute for Nashville in their first three seasons, but has made errors leading to goals in their last three matches.
Gary Smith was asked about recalling Panicco in a recent press conference to give him experience in the Open Cup. While he noted that it would be good to have Panicco play with the group in the Open Cup, he was unsure if it was worth recalling him from Indy, where he’s played all 10 matches this season, for a single match in the Open Cup. Nashville cannot loan him back out until the transfer window re-opens in the summer.
If Panicco starts tomorrow, it will be the first time Nashville have played a match since their MLS debut without Willis in goal.