NASHVILLE - When Nashville SC defender Walker Zimmerman takes the pitch on Saturday against Columbus Crew SC, he’ll likely see a couple of familiar faces going up against him.
Zimmerman will be tasked with slowing down two of his U.S. Men’s National Team teammates in forward midfielder Darlington Nagbe and Gyasi Zardes. He says his familiarity with Columbus’ dynamic American attackers from both USMNT camps and numerous Major League Soccer clashes over the years will help him prepare to face such a multi-faceted offense.
“[Gyasi] is a forward that’s been around for awhile and he’s been having a great year,” Zimmerman said of Zardes. “I’ve gotten to play against him many times in training and in MLS so I’m looking forward to that challenge of keeping awareness of his high-level movements, especially when the ball gets wide he makes great runs into the box. And then Darlington, we know how special of a player he is, how he kind of controls the tempo for Columbus. It’ll be important to try and get bodies in and around him and make the game difficult for him.”
Columbus has been one of MLS’ best clubs this season, owning the league’s best record and best goal differential, having only conceded four goals all season long, two of them just last week against at Chicago Fire. Meanwhile, Nashville SC is coming off of a performance in which the Boys in Gold scored four against Atlanta United FC on Saturday night, their most in a single match in the club’s MLS history.
Zimmerman says the attackers who scored can continue that momentum.
“We’ve had a lot of chances this year that haven’t quite gone our way, so guys were actually able to find the back of the net on those opportunities,” Zimmerman said. “They should walk away with a lot of confidence and hopefully that carries over to the next couple of games.”
This Saturday, Nashville SC will have to deal with facing the league’s top team while looking to extend its four-match unbeaten run to five. Zimmerman says the three points against Atlanta could be a huge springboard for the team moving forward.
“We’re on a good run, unbeaten in four,” Zimmerman said. “I think we can take a lot of positives from the game, but there’s still a lot of room to improve as well.”
Nashville SC and Columbus Crew SC kick off on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. CT on MyTV30, ESPN 94.9 and El Jefe 96.7.