Nashville SC’s improving attack may have gotten a lot better Tuesday with the addition of 2016 USL Rookie of the Year Brandon Allen and former MLS winger Ismaila Jome.
Allen, a transfer from Bethlehem Steel, has scored 32 goals in the last three seasons, including a brace in the team’s 2018 opener against Richmond. In addition to earning newcomer honors, he was also named USL Cup MVP for New York Red Bulls II in 2016. Allen tallied 11 goals that season and nine in 2017 for New York’s reserve squad. He also played nine minutes against Sporting Kansas City on behalf of Minnesota United last season. Here’s his full career info.
“Brandon Allen has got a fabulous scoring record as a 24-year-old,” coach Gary Smith said in the team’s press release. “Not only are his statistics spot-on for where you would want a center forward to be, he’s young, he has tremendous potential, he also fits what we’re about as well.”
Allen conveyed his excitement after things “didn’t really work out” in Bethlehem.
“It’s a very exciting move for me,” Allen said. “I’m really excited to come to a club where there’s real opportunity. I feel like I can really make an impact at this club and really score goals here. It’s only the beginning, there’s still the rest of the season ahead. Hopefully I can continue to do my job and put the balls in the net for Nashville.”
Jome comes to Nashville via the free agent market. He appeared in 12 matches for Minnesota United in its debut MLS season, where he played with Nashville defender Justin Davis. He ascended to the MLS along with the club after joining Minnesota at the NASL level in 2016. Here’s his full statistical breakdown.
“Ismaila Jome, wide player, physically, athletically, and technically in a very good place,” Smith said. “As a 23-year-old, he’s a good young player, certainly going to improve, hopefully as we do as a team, and as we go into what all teams will have are some very tough stretches of games.”
“I’m thrilled and excited to be here, excited to get to work and try to start playing games and help the team do better than we have been,” Jome said.
Allen is the flashier signing of the two given his proficiency at the USL level. He is a strong one-touch striker who will provide a threat inside the area. But while there’s no doubt he can pepper the net with shots, at least one expert has questions about other aspects of his game.
“He’s deadly in the box and can literally walk defenders wherever he wants,” said Bethlehem Steel beat writer Evan Villella. “If you need him to create for himself or play defense, well, two clubs have tried to get that from him and failed.”
How can Nashville use him best?
“As a poacher,” said Villella. “Stick him in the box, have [Lebo] Moloto or [Ropapa] Mensah feed him close range and prosper.”
Nashville has the weapons to set up Allen. Moloto has been active in midfield all year, Mensah tallied his first league assist against Louisville and the Boys in Gold have employed aggressive wings and central midfielders to provide solid service in the final third. If the Boys in Gold can surround Allen with opportunities, watch out.
Nashville has improved its offensive chemistry lately, notching three goals in its last two league matches and putting more shots on target than its opponents in both contests. It will be interesting to see whether Allen strengthens that offensive punch or disrupts the budding rhythm.
We expect Allen and Jome to be available in the near future. Like you, we’re eager to see how Gary Smith works them into the fold.