Photo Cred: Philadelphia Union
Flach, Gazdag, Bueno, Bedoya
Wager, Elliott, Glesnes, Harriel
Shaffelburg, Mukhatr, Leal
Lovitz, MacNaughton, Zimmerman, Moore
First Half Summary
The Union welcomed back Kai Wagner this evening, but Jim shook up the lineup a bit. Jesus Bueno earned a start at the 6, Nathan Harriel replaced Olivier, and Quinn Sullivan had a surprising appearance for Mikael. Jose Martinez was out of the lineup due to illness, which gave Bueno a tall task to pocket Mukhtar for the evening. Lastly, if you haven’t heard the news, Olivier Mbaizo is currently seeking a transfer due to his family having visa issues. Jim Curtin, however, made It clear that Olivier will be available for the time being.
Before the match, Jose Nunez and I had a friendly wager. A Sullivan goal would earn me a six pack, while Jose didn’t think the youngster would put one in for Philly. Sullivan certainly made It interesting early on when he found space outside of the box. Quinn ripped a right footed shot and smacked the far post. We have been begging for these players to test the keeper, and Quinn did just that. Need more of that attitude from the rest of the group moving forward.
MacNaughton had a great opportunity to score before the 15th minute, but his awkward shot bounced over the net. Regardless, Nashville was the more dangerous team in the early minutes and they missed an even better chance soon after MacNaughton's miss. The home squad took advantage of Philly sleeping on a restart, and Bunbury found himself 1 v 1 against Bendik. Credit to Joe for making himself big on the chance, but an inexcusable miss from Bunbury. He skied one over the net and we stayed 0-0. This would be a common occurrence for the home team on the night.
The Union have given up early goals far too often, but they weathered the first 15 minutes and began to settle into the match. They also continued to test Willis, including 2 shots from Quinn and Daniel. Right after the hydration break, Carranza and Sullivan were off to the races, but Julian’s poor pass didn’t give Quinn a good enough chance at net. Despite the rocky start, Philly looked like they belonged on the same pitch with Nashville.
Jesus Bueno had played fine in the first half, and he’s shown throughout the season he can be trusted in spot starts. His effort paid off for Philly before the 40th minute. Unlike Brujo at the top of the box, Bueno kept possession and found Kai alone on the left. Wagner’s cross was a challenging one, and Daniel was pushed from behind by Lovtiz. A clear penalty and Daniel confidently sent a PK into the goal. Credit to the Union for adjusting and improving as the half went on. A massive moment for a team who desperately needed a good outing.
Six minutes of stoppage time were awarded, but Union brushed off the final attacks from the home team and entered the locker room with a confident 1-0 lead.
Second Half Summary
As you'd expect from these two teams, It was a high intensity opening to the second half. Nashville also missed another scoring opportunity. Just moments after Bueno tested Willis from outside the box, Nashville pushed toward Bendik. Mukhtar then tried soaring one over Joe, but It hit the cross bar and was cleared away by the Philly D.
The Union withstood more pressure from Nashville's attack, and the first subs for Philly came at the 60th. Uhre replaced Quinn and McGlynn relieved Ale, who put in a solid performance for Philly. The armband then went to Glesnes. Nashville also made a change, and the Union fans were reacquainted with Fafa Picault. If there was one player I wish we would have kept for his speed alone, It was Fafa. Guy is electric when he gets off and running!
Not sure what type of prayer Joe Bendik said before the match, but his goal seemed impenetrable. Nashville continued to hit the post and everywhere around the net, but they couldn’t muster that perfect strike passed Joe.
Luck seemed to turn against Philly just before the 75th minute. A corner kick went straight at McGlynn, and his head deflected the ball off his arm. It was immediately called for a PK, but VAR showed that Jack’s arm wasn’t extended enough to get the call. Huge break again for Philly, and Bendik I’m sure gave a sigh of relief.
This wasn’t the last time the head official was involved in the match. Mikael Uhre went down with a blow to the head, and Glesnes pushed It out for a stop in play. When given the ball back, Philly immediately pushed at goal and Uhre was again in the mix. He crossed the ball in the box, but Lovitz lunged and struck Mikael’s legs after the ball had been sent. Again, an easy call and now a second yellow for Lovitz. Daniel then rolled one passed Willis and the fans erupted in their displeasure. We even saw beverages being thrown at the Hungarian goal scorer.
The game came to a pause while things were sorted, but this led to 14 minutes of stoppage time. Curtin then earned a yellow, and the commenters assumed It may have been for vocal displeasure of the amount of time.
The intensity grew in the final stages of the game, and we had a scuffle between players. Moore and Carranza fought for a ball, but Julian was thrown down from behind. The Argentine immediately wrestled Moore for his attack and the two men were separated by their teammates. Unfortunately for Philly, not only was Moore shown a red, but so was Julian. He will now be missed for the NYCFC match.
The whistle was finally heard after a long match and the Union earned an impressive 3 points. This may not have been the prettiest win, but after back to back losses, Philly will be happy with this result. You saw players like Quinn and Bueno rise to the occasion, and your leaders stepped up in key moments. Curtin made some questionable decisions against Atlanta and LA, but he was on point against Nashville. Next, the Boys in Blue return home and host NYFC on Saturday!
- Mike Barrera