A self-described loyalist, Walker Zimmerman is all in with Nashville, the club and city. The center back, who was traded to the MLS expansion side before the start of the season, signed a contract extension Monday through 2023 with an option for 2024.
But, in a bit of an ironic twist, Zimmerman’s eighth MLS season will resume Wednesday (8:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US; on DAZN in Canada) against FC Dallas.
Five months removed from his last competitive game due to the COVID-19 pause, Zimmerman will reunite with good friends like Reggie Cannon, Paxton Pomykal and Jesus Ferreira at Toyota Stadium, which he still considers a home away from home.
“That will be great. I still have a lot of friends, a lot of good memories of obviously being in Dallas and winning a lot of games there,” Zimmerman said on Extratime driven by Continental. “It’s still going to feel like kind of like home field to me because I played more games on that field than any other one in the league. I’m excited, excited to go back there and compete.”
Although there’s a different head coach at FC Dallas from when he was on the team, with Luchi Gonzalez calling for a bit more possession than the counter-attacking squad coached by Oscar Pareja, Zimmerman said a few keys in this first of back-to-back meetings are clear.
“For us it’s going to be matching their intensity, playing in the heat as everyone always talks about with playing in Dallas in the summer and how can we kind of dictate the tempo to make sure we have our legs under us and create some good opportunities,” he said.
It's a matchup of the two teams who were unable to compete at the MLS is Back Tournament due to several COVID-19 positive tests.
So what to expect from Nashville? Zimmerman said similar defensive structure as they showed to start the season back in February and March.
But there’s been added emphasis on the attacking third.
“Offensively, that’s where we can say after the first two games, how can we do more? How can we create better one-v-one matchups outside with our wingers, get runners into the box on the end of crosses, how can we get more numbers into the box to be more dangerous when it's out wide?”