Match Preview: Nashville SC v Philadelphia Union

Last weekend saw more late game heroics from Nashville SC as Abu Danladi came off the bench and secured a 1-1 draw against CF Montréal. Tonight, they will welcome the Philadelphia Union to Nissan Stadium for the first time. Can Nashville get a much needed win at home? Will the Union extend their unbeaten streak to 9 matches?

Nashville SC

With, their late game heroics against CF Montréal, Nashville kept their unbeaten streak alive. However, if the Boys In Gold have to start turning those draws in to wins if they want to keep up with the place off pace. Picking up that win against an inform Philadelphia team will be tough.

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For the past month or so, Coach Gary Smith has dealt with both injuries and absences due to international duty. Tonight, he will have as close to a fully healthy roster with only Dominique Badji out due to injury. Coach Smith will want to take advantage of this as it will be the last match before Walker Zimmerman, Alastair Johnston, and Aníbal Godoy leave for the Gold Cup.

Nashville must take advantage of the their last chance to utilize some key starters.

Nashville SC projected XI

Coach Gary Smith has stuck with a 4-2-3-1/4-4-1-1 formation for the past few games and while I expect to stick with the same formation, I think we could see some slight personnel changes in the forward positions.

Daniel Ríos made his return to the field against Montréal and looked bright and full of ideas. Ríos is definitely in contention for the starting position but the question will be if he is fit enough to go from the start. If not, we could always see the return of Jhonder Cádiz who is back with the team after being away at Copa America. Cádiz unfortunately never saw the field against Venezuela but Nashville will be ready to get him back in action after extending his loan.

Luke Haakenson picked up his first star of the season last weekend and performed well enough that Coach Smith will see him as an option to start again. Haakenson started opposite Alex Muyl but would like to see Nashville try and get out on the front foot and play Haakenson with Randall Leal.

The match against the Union will be the last chance to see the midfield pairing of Aníbal Godoy and Dax McCarty before the former heads off to international duty. The biggest concern will be if Godoy will be ready after playing a full match for Panama on Wednesday.

As with the midfield, the defense should be at full strength one last time before Gold Cup. Jack Maher has performed well in place for Walker Zimmerman but I expect him to get some rest before he moves back into the starting lineup.

Philadelphia Union

Due to pandemic scheduling, Nashville SC were spared the opportunity to take on Supporters Shield winners, Philadelphia Union. Tonight, the will face off against an inform Union side that while good, is not hitting the heights of last season.

You would think that anytime you lose the likes of Mark Mackenzie and Brendan Aaaronson you can suspect a massive regression. However, Head Coach Jim Curtain and Technical Director Earnest Tanner seem to continue to be able to unearth gems such as Leon Flach who has been a big part of the early season success of the Union.

While Philadelphia is missing a few key pieces such as Ilsinho, Anthony Fontana, and potentially Alejandro Bedoya, they will have plenty of options. Coach Jim Curtain will lineup in something that looks between a 4-4-2 diamond and 4-3-1-2. They will look to dominate the midfield and control possession and get the ball to Montero who will try set up chances for Corey Burke and Kacper Przybylko. The Nashville midfield will have to try and cut out passing lanes and look to transition quickly when they do win back possession

Philadelphia Union projected XI

Injury report

Pod picks

Ben Wright

Score: Nashville 1 – 2 Philadelphia
Scorers: Daniel Ríos
MOTM: Daniel Ríos
Bold Prediction: Nashville takes 15+ shots but concedes two sloppy goals

Andy Simmons

Score: Nashville 0 – 0 Philadelphia
MOTM: Jack Maher
Bold Prediction: Nashville outshoots Philadelphia

Jonathan Slape

Score: Nashville 1 – 2 Philadelphia
Scorers: Jhonder Cádiz
MOTM: Randall Leal
Bold Prediction: Cádiz comes off the bench and equalizes before Nashville gives up a late goal.

Davey Shepherd

Score: Nashville 1 – 1 Philadelphia
Scorers: Hany Mukhtar
MOTM: Dax McCarty

Lucas Panzica

Score: Nashville 0 – 2 Philadelphia
MOTM: Alex Muyl
Bold Prediction: Nashville loses their first match at home.

Have a prediction for this week’s match? Vote in our Fan Forecast.

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Match Info

Teams: Nashville SC v Philadelphia Union
Power RankingsNashville (6th) vs Philadelphia (11th)
Odds: NSH (+100), Draw (+210), PHI (+290) vs MGM
Date: Saturday, July 3rd
Time: 7:30 PM central, Nissan Stadium, Nashville, Tennessee
TV:  MyTV 30 (local), ESPN+ (out of market)
Radio: 94.9 The Game 2 (English); El Jefe 96.7 (Spanish)
Forecast: 84°/61°. Mostly Sunny. 0% chance of rain. 43% humidity.

Author: Jonathan Slapeoriginated from outside of Atlanta but has lived in Nashville since 2005. Original member of Speedway Soccer and has been talking and occasionally writing about Nashville SC since the USL days. Self proclaimed official fashion correspondent. Outside of Nashville SC you can find him singing the praises of Jurgen Klopp, discussing the latest in sneakers and soccer fashion with a good stiff drink.

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