Nashville SC announced today the signing of two solid depth pieces in defender Malcom Stewart and 'keeper Danny Vitiello.
Stewart is a tall, pacy defender, who can play both at right back and center back. The 22 year old played collegiately at UNC Charlotte, recording eight shutouts and only allowed 15 goals in 20 games. Since then, he's played for the Ocean City Nor'easters of USL League Two (former NSC player Martim Galvão also played there), and trained with USL Championship side LA Galaxy II in 2018.
Stewart has seen significant time for Jamaican youth national teams, playing in their U-17 World Cup qualifying campaign in 2013, the CONCACAF U-20 championship in 2015, and training with their U-23 squad in 2017.
6'3" and rangey, Stewart can play at right back as well as centrally. He has good recovery speed and looks comfortable passing the ball.
“Malcolm is a terrific prospect and has many qualities that are needed in the modern game. He has tremendous pace, good physical stature and is hungry to achieve,” says Nashville SC head coach Gary Smith (per the club's press release).
“Malcolm is someone that we’ve seen play quite a bit at the youth and collegiate levels over the years, and his athleticism and versatility make him someone who can play a number of roles in a backline," notes Technical Director Mike Jacobs.
Stewart is a solid depth signing, but with NSC's defensive core returning and the additions of Ken Tribbett and Darnell King, he probably won't see the field much. Expect him to play a role similar to Jordan Dunstan last season. However, Stewart has a lot of potential and could make a push into the side later on, similar to what we saw from Ramone Howell in 2018.
Vitiello is a 22 year old goalkeeper who joins Nashville after a solid collegiate career at the University of Albany, where he recorded 24 shutouts in 60 starting appearances. In 2018, Vitiello played for USL League Two club Long Island Rough Riders. There, Vitiello was part of Long Island's Open Cup run, beating the Kingston Stockade 6-3 in extra time before losing 5-0 to USL Championship winners Louisville City (Nashville SC forward Cameron Lancaster scored on Vitiello in that match).
“Danny impressed whilst trialing during the summer and then reinforced his credentials in our invite only tryouts in December. “He fits the criteria for our club perfectly both physically & technically, whilst showing all the desire you would expect from a young player," says Gary Smith.
Vitiello has a really good reaction time and for the most part is able to parry the ball to the sides, avoiding putting a rebound back into oncoming traffic. He doesn't do the best job holding onto shots, though, and can tend to spill a shot that he really should keep under control.
Vitiello will very much be Nashville's third 'keeper option, similar to Micah Bledsoe last year. With two high-end options in Matt Pickens and Connor Sparrow challenging for the starting job, don't expect Vitiello to see the bench too often, save for a potential Open Cup match, or to give one of the other 'keepers a rest. Still, he's a good option to have in case of injury and will hopefully push Pickens and Sparrow in training.