NASHVILLE – It’s the second week of preseason training camp for the Boys in Gold and we’re seeing players start to fall into their routines. We’re back this week to give you our “Nsider” view from the sidelines as we watch Gary Smith prep his side for the season opener on April 17.


Here’s what stood out during Tuesday’s session:


Tailoring Tactics


JW: Today started off with a drill that had a combination of the front six of the attack facing a back defensive six working in the final third of the field. The idea was designed to get the ball moving side to side quickly and isolate a winger against an outside defender. Defenders Eric Miller and Dan Lovitz often found themselves one-v-one with the likes of Handwalla Bwana, Luke Haakenson and Rodrigo Piñeiro. I thought all three of those players stood out amongst the rotation of wingers. Piñeiro would dip the left shoulder and cut inside frequently to create space for an angled strike to the back post, and the footwork of Bwana was deceptive and decisive. Haakenson looks very lively to start preseason after his loan spell with the Charlotte Independence. This was a very lopsided drill for the attack but fun to watch as some stellar goals and passages of play were on display to start the session.


Badji’s Back


TH: Nashville SC Head Coach Gary Smith loves to have competition for places across his roster and it was good to see striker Dom Badji looking sharp in training today. Badji’s season ended prematurely last year, just as he was finding some form, pulling up in the home win against D.C. United with a hamstring injury. Any player injured in the fall has endured an especially long off season, but that appears to have given him plenty of hunger. His finishing was excellent across the session, including one clinical strike into the corner from out on the left-hand side of the penalty area.


Full-Field Experience


JW: Finally, the team broke out into an 11 v 11 scenario in a timed manner -- disguised fitness I like to call it. The teams were evenly matched with a mixture of veterans and young players on both sides. It’s still too early to make anything of the two teams. This drill was meant to put some of the bigger pictures together on a bigger field of when to press, when to shift/cover as a unit, and ultimately try to break down the opposing team.


Walker Hair Watch


TH: As promised...a Walker Zimmerman hair update. It’s still growing!


Check back next week for more training Nsider access to Nashville SC’s 2021 Preseason. For midweek musings and more Nashville SC talk, follow us on Twitter @TonyHusband and @JamieWatson77.


Click here for the team’s 2021 preseason schedule. Keep up with all the preseason action by following Nashville SC on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and TikTok @NashvilleSC.