Jhonder Cadiz makes Nashville SC a dangerous side in MLS

Nashville SC, Jhonder Cadiz (Photo by JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK/AFP via Getty Images)
Nashville SC, Jhonder Cadiz (Photo by JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK/AFP via Getty Images) /

Nashville signed Jhonder Cadiz to be their third Designated Player

Jhonder Cádiz was brought into a Nashville SC team that has one main weakness, goal-scoring. In all but one game, (the 4-2 win at home against Atlanta United), the Six Strings have failed to score more than one goal, while also only having a single player score more than one the whole season, USL standout Daniel Rios, who has two goals in his last two matches.

Cádiz comes from Portuguese giants SL Benfica, on a season-long loan with a reported loan fee of $550,000, and an option to buy at the end of the loan, on June 30. Last season he went on loan to French Ligue 1 side Dijon FCO, where he made 17 appearances in Ligue 1, 7 of them starts, scoring twice, and assisting on two goals as well in just shy of 800 minutes of game time.

One of those goals came in November at home against a nearly full strength Paris-Saint Germain side that would later reach the Champions League Final. Cádiz scored just after halftime, a goal which saw the young striker take on three PSG defenders and slot the ball home, nutmegging Keylor Navas in the process. This goal would prove to be the match-winner, as Dijon won 2-1.

Breaking down the impact Jhonder Cadiz will have on Nashville SC

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That’s all good and well, but what do the stats say, and how does Cádiz’s last season compare to the European seasons of other notable DP forward signings?

In addition to his four-goal contributions in 799 minutes of league action with Dijon in 2019, in 2018, Cádiz spent the season on loan at Portuguese club Vitória Setúbal. There, he played 2,229 Liga NOS minutes, scoring nine times and grabbing another two assists.

At Vitória Setúbal, Cádiz finished with 0.44 goals+assists per 90 minutes in the league, better than any of Josef Martinez‘s three seasons in Serie A. It was even better than Javier Hernandez‘s last season at Sevilla while being comparable to Gonzalo Higuain‘s last season at Juventus, where he had 0.58 goals+assists per 90.

At Dijon, Cádiz’s goals+assists per 90 increased by one to 0.45. This is also the only season of Cádiz’s on record that comes with xG stats. xG and xA are stats that indicate the expected goals and assists tally of a player both across a season, as well as per 90.

Cádiz had a non-penalty xG+xA of 0.41 per 90 minutes in the league, tied for 27th highest in Ligue 1, which was higher than Lyon star Moussa Dembele‘s. This was also comparable to Javier Hernandez’s 0.54 at Sevilla in 2019, but well below the tally of Gonzalo Higuain’s 2019 at 0.66 (Higuain had a npxG+xA of 0.53 in each of the preceding two seasons).

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So what does this say of Cádiz, who has only scored 23 league goals at a senior level in his career? It says that the potential is there, and Nashville have recognized it. Will he realize it? Who knows, all the stats can show is that he’s very much in the ballpark of other notable DP striker signings in MLS. With Cádiz expected to arrive in Nashville this week, we may get the answer sooner rather than later.