With 13 roster spots filled, Nashville SC has a lot of attacking potential but a few more goal scoring options couldn’t hurt.
Nashville SC’s current signees accounted for 23 goals in all competitions in 2017. This would put Nashville in last place for total goals in the USL. The Richmond Kickers only scored 24 goals last season and finished in 14th place in the Eastern Conference.
Compare that to Louisville City FC, the 2017 USL Champions, which scored 65 goals last season — the second most in the USL. Louisville’s goals came from multiple players and all over the pitch with 17 players getting on the score sheet. Forward Luke Spencer led the way for Louisville with 11 goals.
Analyzing Nashville’s current forwards
Nashville SC has signed three forwards so far going into the 2018 season – Robin Shroot, Michael Cox and Tucker Hume.
Shroot is the most senior of the group, scoring 64 goals in 11 professional seasons. The 29-year-old most recently played for IL Hødd in Norway’s second division. The Northern Irishman ended 2017 with seven goals in all competitions.
At 6-foot-5-inches tall, Hume provides a large target inside the opposing team’s penalty box. The 24-year-old scored three goals in 23 appearances for Ottawa Fury FC. He was mainly used off the bench to come in and provide a spark late in games. He scored equalizing and game winning goals in the 73rd and 89th minute last season. Hume should build off his first professional season and improve his finishing for Nashville SC.
Cox will be one of Nashville SC’s fastest players on the pitch. The 25-year-old Canadian forward scored 13 goals and recorded six assists for Orlando City B in 46 appearances. Cox struggled to find the back of the net in 2017, only scoring twice. He was limited by injuries at the beginning of the season and only started 10 games. Hopefully he will return to his 2016 form when he racked up 11 goals and led Orlando in scoring.
Go after the Rochester Rhinos leading scorer
The Rochester Rhinos ownership group announced the team would take a one-year hiatus from the USL on Dec. 1. This is unfortunate for Rhinos’ fans, but an opportunity for Nashville SC.
Saint Louis FC just signed Wal Fall, an attacking midfielder who scored nine goals for Rochester in 2017.
The Rhinos top scorer from last season, Jochen Graf, could still be up for grabs. According to USL’s transfer tracker, Graf has not signed with a new USL team.
Graf put the eighth most shots on target last season (35), and scored 11 goals for the Rhinos. The 28-year-old center-forward would give Nashville a legitimate scoring threat at the front of its attack. MLS scouts described Graf as a “busy bee forward” who “continues to work and often times would create goals by pressing teams into mistakes.” Before joining the Rhinos in 2017, Graf played three seasons in Sweden for Lidkopings FK, Carlstad United and Oskarshamns AIK.
Keep Flemmings from leaving for Europe
The Nashville SC technical staff should reach out to 21-year-old Junior Flemmings. The New York Red Bulls II let the Jamaican forward’s contract expire after he tied for the fifth most shots (71) and scored 10 goals last season. Flemmings is a great young talent and was named to the USL’s Twenty Under Twenty team in 2016.
Unfortunately, Flemmings has his sights set on Europe and told the Jamaica Observer he is looking at multiple options in Norway, Sweden and Germany.
“Currently I am out of contract with the New York Red Bulls, but there are a lot of different clubs interested — teams from within the USL, outside of the USL, and in Europe. So at the moment I am weighing my options, but really and truly, I would love to be in Europe, especially after playing two seasons at the USL level, but so far things are good. It’s the off season now so I am putting in some work,” he told the newspaper.
Maybe Nashville SC could convince Flemmings to stay in the USL and suit up for the boys in gold in 2018.