MATCH REPORT: Union leap Nashville into Second Place
Photo Cred: Philadelphia Union
The Boys in Blue are back home after a frustrating loss to Minnesota. The Union had no time to dwell on Wednesday' misfortune, as they played host to second place Nashville. The Recap from tonight's Eastern Conference battle is below!
Wagner, Elliott, Glesnes, Mbaizo
Flach, Martinez, Bedoya
Romney, Miller, Maher
Godoy, Anunga, Leal
First Half Summary
The match started with some tension. Jamiro was battling for a ball before he was forcefully brought down near the Nashville box. The ref kept his whistle silent, but the replay showed that Monteiro was visibly struck in the throat/face. An early worry that this was going to be an intense match.
The first close call of the match came just before the 12th minute. A well placed ball found the head of Daniel inside the box, and he gingerly touched it toward Kacper. Przybylko had to awkwardly turn his body to make contact with his right foot, but it seemed to be too far out of his reach. The ball was sent away from danger, and any form of solid contact by Kacper would have likely put the Union up a goal.
A huge moment came right before the 19th minute. Jack Elliott again made a difference on the offensive end, much like we saw in Minnesota before Gazdag's second goal. Jack stormed down the pitch and ultimately earned a free kick when he was fouled. Jamiro then took the free kick, which clearly struck the hand of a Nashville defender. The penalty kick was awarded, and Kacper left no doubt. 1-0 Union!!
The first booking for the Union came in the 27th minute. Rios ran with the ball by midfield, and Kacper dove aggressively from behind. He was immediately shown the yellow, and Rios gingerly limped as he stood up. He remained in the match for a few moments, but he was ultimately taken out of the match for former Union striker CJ Sapong.
I've been hard on Flach's offensive skill set, but he had a nice moment in the 33rd minute. Flach found himself alone with the ball toward the left side of Nashville's box, and he made a perfect cross to Gazdag by the penalty spot. Daniel's shot was blocked by a defender, but it was nice to see Leon with such an accurate ball in the final third. Need more of that from Flach!
As I finished typing the previous paragraph, Leon did it again. He put an excellent pass to Kacper at the center of the box, and KP tried to feed Gazdag. Ultimately, it was too far ahead of Daniel, and the Nashville keeper secured the ball. Philly continued to control the half, and even with 4 mins of stoppage time, Nashville did not make a worrisome threat toward goal. The Boys in Blue then entered the break up one.
Second Half Summary
The second half started with a sub. Nashville replaced Maher with Walker Zimmerman.
The first scoring chance came from Nashville. Glesnes was too careless with the ball in Philly's side of the pitch, and he turned it over. Sapong managed to receive a pass by the top of the box, and fortunately his strike was far off target. After what we saw in Minnesota, it's frustrating that the Union defenders continue to play around with possession.
The next booking came in the 53rd minute. Godoy was running away from Miro, who was just a step behind him. Godoy then stretched his left arm back and struck the face of Monteiro. Easy call there for a yellow card.
Jakob then joined the booking party. He was shown a yellow just moments after Godoy's, as the ref did not approve of his foul on Loba.
The first Union sub came early for Curtin. Gazdag was relieved by Paxten. Moments later, Nashville began a counter, and Jamiro earned a yellow card when he brought down Sapong.
Both teams proceeded to make moves toward the opposing keepers, but neither goalie was tested. It was very much a back and forth between the two squads, and the defenses did enough to avoid danger. As you'd expect, the tensions grew, with Brujo and Leal having to be separated at one point. There was certainly a playoff atmosphere in the air tonight.
Nashville made their final run of subs, and although they possessed the ball well, the Philly D continuously kept Andre uninvolved.
Kacper and Miro almost made it 2-0. Jamiro fed Przybylko a nice ball to the right of Willis, who was forced to make himself big. He did well enough to prevent Kacper from scoring, but what a close moment for Philly. Paxten was open across the box, but I don't believe Kacper would have been able to make it through the traffic.
Five minutes of stoppage time was awarded by the head official. The Union had another solid chance by Kacper toward the end of the extra time, and Nashville was kept out of the goal. The final whistle blew and Philly earned a massive 1-0 home victory.
The now SECOND PLACE Union travel to Toronto on Wednesday night. DOOP
- Mike Barrera (mbarrera1323)