Preseason Preview: Nashville SC vs Philadelphia Union

Nashville SC play their third and final friendly today before their MLS season starts next Sunday. The Coyotes will take on Philadelphia Union in yet another closed door match. Without much information to be had from this one, we’ll keep things brief. Here’s what we’re watching:

1. Lineups

It looks like the 3-4-3 is here to stay, and while head coach Gary Smith threw out a curveball with the XI against Cincinnati, I expect this to be as close to a first-choice lineup as possible, likely foreshadowing the selection against Seattle on February 27. What will the midfield pairing be? Will Hany Mukhtar, CJ Sapong and Ak√© Loba form the frontline, or is there room for Randall Leal or Teal Bunbury? Can Josh Bauer keep working his way up the pecking order?

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2. Form

Nashville haven’t had problems scoring so far in preseason, with five goals in two games. You’d ideally like to see that continue against far and away the best side they’ll face before the season. A lot is riding on the chemistry of Mukhtar, Loba and Sapong this year, and those connections need to keep improving.

Sloppy turnovers in midfield led to two of Cincinnati’s goals last time out. Those types of mistakes are uncharacteristic for this side, but now is the time to clean those up. Keeping Philadelphia off the board would be a confidence boost heading into Seattle.

3. Fitness

This is the most basic one. Who plays? How long do they stay on the field? Does anyone get hurt? Does anyone miss out all together? Without much information to be had, we can still learn a good bit about pecking order and fitness from these friendlies.

The Coyotes leave for Nashville immediately after this one, so no post-match presser today. Stay tuned to our socials for a limited recap of the match, as well as photos and videos from the action.

Author: Ben Wrightis the Director of Soccer Content and a Senior MLS Contributor for Broadway Sports covering Nashville SC and the US National Team. Previously Ben was the editor and a founder of Speedway Soccer, where he has covered Nashville SC and their time in USL before journeying to Major League Soccer since 2018. Raised in Louisville, KY Ben grew up playing before a knee injury ended his competitive career. When he is not talking soccer he is probably producing music, drinking coffee or hanging out with his wife and kids. Mastodon

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