Player Ratings: Nashville SC 2-0 Real Salt Lake

Nashville SC picked up its first three points at Geodis Park Sunday with a 2-0 win against Real Salt Lake.

Below are our player ratings.

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Each member of the Speedway Soccer crew gives each player that saw the pitch a rating based on their match performance. Below is a quick guideline for our evaluation process.

  • A rating of 6 denotes an average performance. Each player starts out with a 6 and their performance either adds or subtracts from that rating.
  • Scores are determined after re-watching the match and looking at the stats, and are the averaged total of each Speedway member’s ratings.

Joe Willis – 7.5: Willis wasn’t too busy on the day, which is more a testament to how well his backline in front of him was performing.

Dan Lovitz – 7.3: We continue to see Lovitz as an offensive threat from the wingback role, completing one key pass and 91% of his passes, including 80% of his long balls.

Dave Romney – 8.3: Romney found himself in the right place at the right time for the opening goal after Nashville were struggling to get any meaningful opportunities on goal, as the ball bounced in front of him in a scramble in the box that he was able to capitalize on.

Walker Zimmerman – 7.5: Zimmerman’s commanding presence in the back was in full force Sunday, as he registered six clearances and cut off through balls effectively against a Real Salt Lake front line that was desperate to find any sort of creative presence.

Jack Maher – 7.0: Maher’s role as the distributor out of the backline was in full effect, completing the most passes (61) and having the highest passing percentage out of defenders (92%).

Sean Davis – 7.5: Only missed on ONE pass the entire match. It’s clear that it doesn’t matter if he’s paired with Anibal Godoy or with Dax McCarty, his presence in the midfield is absolutely invaluable and should be a lock in the starting 11 the rest of the season.

Dax McCarty – 8.5: McCarty shined in midfield and seemed to be omnipresent wherever the ball was, as was evident with him being the most fouled player in the match. Not only was his distribution solid, but he recovered well when Real Salt Lake was trying to build up its attack.

Alex Muyl – 7.5: Muyl found himself in plenty of space on the right side to create and cause some problems for the Real Salt Lake defense. Ultimately needs to be better with his crossing accuracy, but still had two key passes on the day.

Hany Mukhtar – 7.3:  Led the side with seven shots, including on a couple of free kicks. On another day, Mukhtar converts at least one of those chances, but too many of them were straight at the keeper and not as threatening.

Randall Leal – 6.3:  Looked exciting on the ball in the first half, but was taken off at the break with an ankle injury. Did register three shots that were outside the box, but none were truly threatening.

CJ Sapong – 8.5: After a brief hiatus on the score sheet, Sapong was able to tally his team-leading third of the season on a low cross from Luke Haakenson in the dying embers of the match. Even before his goal, his involvement in the buildup play (three key passes) was exceptional.


Ake Loba (on ′45) – 6.8: Loba came on in the second half and looked quite lively in his contributions. His touch to help spring him into the final third saw him have a few chances on goal, and he was open on the back post on a few runs. An encouraging sign for those beginning to lose faith.

Luke Haakenson (on ′86) – 7.0:  Dished out a great low cross to Sapong for the match-clinching goal. Gary Smith has praised Haakenson when asked about offensive contributors, and we should see the youngster push for a start against Atlanta United Wednesday in the Open Cup.

Brian Anunga (on ′88) – 6.0:  Did his normal job of locking down the midfield to try and preserve the lead, with a couple of recoveries logged to his name.

Ethan Zubak (on ′90+) – 5.3:  Not enough time for any sort of contribution, but should hopefully have some meaningful minutes in Wednesday’s Open Cup contest.


Gary Smith – 8.5: Sunday was legit the total Gary Smith experience. A defensive masterclass with plenty of chances on the opposite side, but the finishing wasn’t exactly there. Luckily, the breakthrough came in the second half. Regardless, it was as good of a defensive performance we’ve seen from this side all season, and we’ll continue to more than likely see three at the back for quite some time as long as Smith has the personnel to do so.

What say you? Do you agree or disagree with our match ratings? Feel free to reach out to us on Twitter and let us know your thoughts.

Author: Andy Simmonsjoined Speedway Soccer after stints with Golden Goal and 615 Formation. A former journalist now in web development, Simmons also previously worked for Main Street Media and Gannett. A student of the game, Simmons has been playing soccer his entire life and participates in several adult soccer leagues around town. When he is not playing soccer, you can find him at brunch, rewatching Rick and Morty or The Office, doing a mock draft for fantasy football, or complaining about Arsenal.

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