Gary Smith Gaffer Talk, 11.23.19

Gaffer Talk: Head Coach Gary Smith Excited About Top Talent Acquired in Expansion Draft

HEAD COACH GARY SMITH SOUNDS OFF AFTER EXPANSION DRAFT

NASHVILLE – Nashville Soccer Club's roster jumped up by six players after Tuesday’s Major League Soccer Expansion Draft, and it’s up to Head Coach Gary Smith to turn those players into a cohesive unit.

Although according to Smith, he doesn’t think that will be too difficult. Here’s what he had to say about some of club’s newest acquisitions after the Expansion Draft.

On getting to coach the club’s new players…

“I personally am absolutely delighted. This is a collective. I’ve got to coach them, but this is about pulling together a team that can be competitive, that are going to have a particular identity, and I think we’re all on the same page with that. We’ve got some young talent, we’ve got some veteran experience, we’ve got some very good foundational pieces, we’ve also got some individuals that know the league inside-out and have seen it all before. I’m very pleased.”

On the goalkeeping tandem of Joe Willis (acquired from Houston Dynamo) and Adrían Zendejas (acquired from Sporting Kansas City)…

“Joe was in and around the league when I was up in Denver. I think with Joe and Adrían, we have possibly the best goalkeeping corps in the league. Absolutely delighted with the two guys we got there.”

On defender Jimmy Medranda (acquired from Sporting Kansas City) and his plans for deploying him…

“Mike’s already said it about Jimmy, his versatility at that left side, whether it be at left back or left midfield, but there will be individuals who say he’s better inside in central midfield. I do think that there needs to be an area for him to really focus on. That’s part of our challenge and Jimmy’s challenge.”

On Abu Danladi (acquired from Minnesota United FC) and his expectations…

“Up front, Abu symbolizes something that I think all teams need. He stretches the game, he’s very positive and very aggressive. I believe, as we all do, he’s got plenty to prove. He had a breakout season in his first year and for all sorts of different reasons, really immaterial now, he’s had a couple of lean years. I’m sure he’s hungry to try and get back on track and be a real star in MLS because he has all the credentials of one.”

On Daniel Lovitz (acquired from Montreal Impact)…

“Daniel Lovitz, as far as left backs go in this league and maybe I would even say around Europe and South America, Daniel is as good as any. He’s in the [U.S. Men’s National Team] camp currently, he brings tremendous experience and of course incredible quality to that left back spot, which is where we see him.”

On GM Mike Jacobs’ Expansion Draft performance…

“I have to say the last three or four days have been quite intense. Mike spearheaded this. His organization and the way that he’s gone about business here, I truly believe he’s put us in a position to get all of these players.”

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