Jhonder Cadiz’s future in Nashville is anything but certain as the Venezuelan striker’s loan from S.L. Benfica is set to expire at the end of June.
The club has a few things to iron out before the June 30th deadline rolls around, including following up on any interest in other forwards in the market -- such as Michael Estrada of Toluca in LIGA MX -- and deciding if Cadiz is worth his $3 million purchase option.
Nashville has just three more matches left to evaluate Cadiz’s standing with the club. In his second season, the 25-year-old has proven that he can create chances to score in his time on the field. Cádiz has accrued two goals and one assist while working with 2.85xG (expected goals) so far this season.
He’s also really gelled well with Randall Leal, who has assisted on both of his goals this year (Cadiz assisted on one of Leal’s goals too). The duo work well together and set up one another for prime scoring chances better than any other players on the roster.
Cadiz's production may not seem consummate, but there is reason to appreciate the overall quality he brings to the club in terms of his value, combined with contributions.
With that in mind, Nashville SC must decide if it should start considering other options such as Estrada or other MLS players, or should the club stick with the player they've invested the last 10 months in, hoping he can provide stability in attack?
An intriguing option, Estrada’s four goals and one assist this season for Toluca fall in line with Cadiz’s two goals and one assist as far as offensive production. His stats, while promising, do not paint a full picture of how the rest of the attack fares with Estrada in play, as he does not get as many quality touches as Cádiz might.
Cadiz contributes periodically each game with crisp passes towards advantageous positions of the field, as well as creating shot opportunities; he has 17 shots this season – second-best on the team behind Leal and tied for the 10th-most in MLS.
Based on his ability to be all over the field and generate shots on a constant basis, it could make financial sense for Nashville SC to keep Cádiz in the hope his size and speed will create more chances on net and offer them a higher offensive upside than bringing in any unproven players from overseas.
If Nashville declines his purchase option, the club needs to have a plan B in place for a new Designated Player almost immediately. C.J. Sapong has done an admirable job as a late-game substitution this season and could bare the brunt of Cadiz’s load until a more permanent replacement is found.