Photo Cred: Philadelphia Union
There's a first time for everything, and Philadelphia faced Nashville SC for the first time in their history. The Union hoped to keep their unbeaten road record intact when taking the trip to Music City. AATB broke down tonight's match!
Wagner, Elliott, Glesnes, Mbaizo
Gazdag, Flach, Bedoya, Miro
Romney, Zimmerman, Maher
Lovitz, Anunga, McCarty, Johnston
First Half Summary
It was a bit of Deja vu for the Philly defense, as they found themselves down 1 within the first minute again. CJ Sapong snuck behind the defense and confidently sent a ball passed Andre. A harsh way to greet your former team, and the slow start put our Boys in Blue in a hole early. Really lazy effort from the Union as a whole here, which has to be something that brings concern to Jim.
Philly began to settle into the match, and things stayed quiet entering the first fifteen minutes. That said, a set piece almost buried the Union in the 19th minute. A Nashville SC free kick found Zimmerman in the box, and he sent a ball toward the front of the net. Sapong lunged forward, but fortunately for Philly the ball went out of bounds for a goal kick. The set pieces are absolutely killing the Union of late, and they won't be winning many games until they fix it.
Union earned a corner in the 28th minute, and Kacper created enough space to head Kai's pass at net. It sailed just wide, but it was at least somewhat encouraging to see Philly creating some chances.
Another frustrating defensive stand on a set piece. Nashville earned a corner in the 33rd minute, and somehow Zimmerman was completely wide open. He headed it toward the opposite corner of the net, but the ball fortunately found its way out of danger. Nashville could have had 3 goals before the 35th minute, and the Union were putting together one of the worst first half performances that we can remember.
Fans were excited to see Gazdag start, but he had been fairly quiet up until the 43rd minute. Daniel sent a nice pass into the box, but it was too strong for a diving Cory. The keeper was able to make the save and avoid any real danger, as Burke couldn't get a strong enough touch on the pass.
Another close call for Philly toward the end of the half. The ball fell in front of Bedoya within the box, and he lunged forward with the top of his chest. Ale's left arm was outstretched when he contacted the ball, and the home crowd erupted for a handball. Although there wasn't an official VAR, the review team deemed that there wasn't enough evidence to show that Bedoya had used his arm, rather than the top of his chest. Another bullet dodged here, and the Union entered the half time break down by 1. Honestly, I thought this was going to be a penalty kick.
Second Half Summary
Nashville started the second half with two subs. Godoy and Muyl replaced Anunga and Johnston, respectively.
I can't say this enough times. The Union are being killed on set pieces, and Sapong almost had his second goal in the 50th minute. The corner kick sailed into the box, and Sapong dove and was able to get his right foot on the ball. The shot ended up going well over the net, but seeing another opposing player making strong contact on a set piece is absolutely infuriating.
The Union made their first pair of subs before the 60th minute. Jose Martinez, who was finally back from Copa America, replaced Gazdag. Sergio Santos also came in and relieved Burke.
Martinez didn't have the best start to his day. He turned the ball over in the 59th minute, and the counter attack surged toward a recovering Union D. A strong shot was taken from the top of the box, which forced Andre to dive and push the ball away.
Sergio Santos had one of the best chances in the second half just minutes after he came into the match. A Kai Wagner cross was deflected to Sergio toward the top of the box, but his strong shot at net was sent out for a corner. Unfortunately, this set piece resulted in another turnover from Martinez, but the Union were able to steer clear from any further danger.
The Union just barely missed their third own goal in 4 matches in the 71st minute. The ball was sent into the box by Nashville, and a diving Mbaizo struck the ball toward net. The touch ricocheted off the post, and then went right back to Mbaizo. He cleared it out of play, and miraculously the Union kept this to only a goal deficit.
The Boys in Blue made some noise before the 75th minute. A strong commotion from Santos in the box ended up being cleared away, which led to a dangerous counter. Leal was then left essentially one v one against Andre, but his right footed shot was pushed out by Blake. Words cannot describe how important he is for this team. They are going to miss him dearly when he's at the Gold Cup.
My Across the Pitch co-host Dave Miller mentioned on our show that Martinez would get a card within his first 30 minutes on the field. Spot on there, as Jose is booked in the 79th minute. Is anyone really surprised here?
The next Union sub came in the 82nd minute. Quinn Sullivan replaced Leon Flach, as Jim hoped he had another bicycle kick goal in him. Cadiz was then brought into the match for Sapong, which was a nice sight for Union fans after his strong performance.
Philly continued to put pressure on the Nashville defense, with one of their better chances being ruled as offside, and another was a Santos pass that could not find Kacper. This summarized the night for Philly, and five minutes of stoppage time was not enough. The Union fell 1-0 against a strong home team, and their road unbeaten streak, as well as 8 straight games with a point, came to an end.
Final Score: Union 0, Nashville 1. Next match for Philly is Thursday night vs Red Bulls at 8pm.