The Postcard – September 11

Welcome to another edition of The Postcard, where you send your questions about Nashville SC, MLS, or whatever else you want to talk about, and I attempt to answer them. Let’s jump right in.

It’s a fair question. While being on the books at Benfica is a great resumé booster, new striker Jhonder Cádiz doesn’t necessarily have the numbers you’d hope to see from a DP striker, at least not on first glance.

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Numbers can be deceiving, though. While 28 goals and 14 assists in 138 matches isn’t a fantastic output, he only started 83 of those matches. When you break it down by minutes played, he’s contributed just under 0.50 goals or assists per 96 minutes played. That’s not record breaking by any means, but it’s much better.

Cádiz is definitely below average for goals+assists per 96 among current MLS DPs, but he’s also played significantly less minutes than most – the average DP striker played over 12,600 minutes before joining the league.

All this to say, he’s definitely unproven, but past numbers don’t necessarily indicate future success. Until we see him on the field for Nashville, it’s hard to really judge how he’ll adapt. Probably sounds like a cop-out, but that’s the best answer I have.

It probably means that Nashville think they got a pretty good deal. Monterrey ended up snagging Loba for $9-12 million, but Nashville’s bid was more in the $5-7 million range. They also looked at signing Djordje Despotović as a DP on a free transfer, so I think it was more about how the player fits rather than price.

For Nashville, if Cádiz comes in and sets the league on fire, they have the transfer fee already negotiated, and won’t have to worry about his price increasing based on how he performs. If he’s a bust, they don’t trigger the purchase option. Seems like a win-win from my perspective.

We probably won’t see him on the field for a bit. He still has to travel to the US and then undergo the league’s mandatory quarantine period (somewhere in the 10 day range), and then he’ll have to get up to speed in practice. Keep in mind that Ligue 1 cancelled the season outright, so Cádiz hasn’t played a competitive match since March 7.

Gary Smith talked about easing him into the team, so I think we’ll probably see him come off the bench for his first couple appearances. Until we hear otherwise, their two home matches on September 23 and 26 seem like decent options for him to get his first action.

At this point, I really don’t know. I thought we’d see a lot more of Ríos after the restart, but Dom Badji seems like he’s solidified his place as the starting striker. It’s a shame, because I really think Ríos offers more in terms of finishing and link-up play, and I’d heard that he was going to be given chances to earn the job this fall. We’ll probably still see him off the bench or in an occasional start this fall.

There’s an aspect where Nashville will hope he gets on a role and earns the starting job, meaning they don’t end up having to spend the money on Cádiz. Ultimately, though, Cádiz is a DP for a reason. He should get the majority of minutes when available.

They’re both highly rated within the club, and seen as potential starters in the future.

Maher has been named to the bench a couple times in recent matches, and would probably be one of the first names Gary Smith looks at if either Romney or Zimmerman goes down. It’s a bit unfortunate for him that Nashville’s center-backs have performed so well, because he has an uphill battle to crack the lineup. He’s still a really good defender, though, and I imagine we’ll see him make a couple of appearances this season before maybe a loan move next season.

Nazarit was always going to be more of a long-term project. He had a lot of potential coming out of Colombia, but was still pretty unproven. Everything I’ve heard is that Nashville won’t rush him into action, and that he took a bit of time to adapt. He has yet to make the bench this season, and I don’t expect to see him involved a ton this season.

When it first came out that Nashville were really looking for a DP 9 earlier this summer, I also heard rumblings that Nashville have plans for that third DP spot, but most likely won’t make a move there until the winter window. A DP winger doesn’t seem out of the question, and Leal is able to be bought down and free up another spot. It all depends on how the rest of the season plays out, but another signing this winter is definitely a possibility.

Kieran Tierney would be lucky to clean Brandon Williams boots.

Nailed it, Mike. I’ve heard Arsenal fans throw around the signings of William Saliba and Gabriel as the reason they’ll be better this year. While that’s possible, it’s a big ask to have a 19-year-old and 22-year-old form an effective center-back pairing that will solve their defensive issues. David Luiz is still going to be playing a lot, and that’s not ideal for a club that has top 4 aspirations. Rob Holding is decent, but he’s not a top 4 center-back.

Arsenal have issues in midfield. Their entire midfield contributed just 17 goals and assists in all competitions last year. The Gunners used to be the leaders of attractive, free-flowing football in the Premier League. Now, they hoard holding midfielders and somehow let Mesut Özil (who’s still a really, really good playmaker) rot on the bench.

They’re also terrible when playing with a lead. According to StatsBomb, the Gunners had the fourth-worst expected goals total last season when playing with a lead. The top six saw their chance creation go up when playing with a lead. Arsenal saw theirs drop to near-relegation levels.

They’ve made a couple signings this summer, but none that I think really fix their issues. They were already miles behind the top six last year, and the rest of the league has improved a lot (just look at the signings Chelsea and City have made). I just think it’s a lot to ask Arsenal to make up a 10 point difference in the standings with the signings they’re making versus the signings everyone else is making.

I probably just guaranteed they’ll win the league.

Thanks to everyone who sent in questions. I always enjoy doing this column, and I hope you do too. If you have questions, hit me up on Twitter using #ThePostcardBroadway or in the comments.

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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