Nashville SC arrived in MLS in 2020 at the same time as Inter Miami CF. They seemed to build their rosters in diametrically opposed ways. Miami went for the star-studded attack, headlined by Gonzalo Higuaín and Rodolfo Pizarro. Nashville’s blockbuster addition was a proven winner, a proven warrior and a defensive powerhouse: Walker Zimmerman. Since then, it’s hard to quantify how important Zimmerman has been to this team.

In terms of sheer numbers, it’s obvious how crucial Zimmerman has been this season. The USMNT center back has only started three games, and in those matches, Nashville have seven points. With Zimmerman out injured or having to contribute off the bench, Nashville have seven points from nine games. Make no mistake about it, Gary Smith’s departure from the club and Walker Zimmerman’s absence from the team go hand in hand.

Sacha Kljestan spoke about Zimmerman’s influence on MLS 360, saying: “It’s his defensive organization and mentality. It’s his ability on attacking set pieces, but also there’s a confidence and reassurance for everyone else, even the fans, when he’s on the field. Nashville instantly look more comfortable. He’s your leader and captain.”


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