Preview: Nashville SC at Philadelphia Union

The Boys in Gold posted a disappointing 0-1 loss at home to Orlando City and now head out for their last road match of the regular season. Tonight, they face off against a Philadelphia Union team looking to secure second in the East. Can Nashville get a result on the road? Will the Union extend their unbeaten streak to eight.

Nashville SC

7th (East) | 45 points | 12-9-10 | +7 GD |
Power Rankings: 11

Injuries / Absences:

Questionable: Lukas MacNaughton, Shaq Moore, Alex Muyl (“lower body injury”)
Out
Nick DePuy (Achilles)
Suspended: Dan Lovitz (red card)

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Nashville’s poor run of form continued against Orlando City.

For the second match in a row, Nashville struggled to create anything of note on the offensive side of the ball and again ended with zero shot on goal. For a team that has struggled since the Leagues Cup, the continued offensive malaise does not bode well for tonight’s match.

When it comes to selection tonight, Gary Smith has several issues to contend with in the defense. Alex Muyl and Shaq Moore are both questionable after picking up a knock each along in the last two matches and Daniel Lovitz is suspended with a red card. These are along with the continued injury of Lukas MacNaughton.

I would expect to see all three of those listed as questionable to miss out in order to avoid a more serious injury. Taylor Washington and Josh Bauer will come into the fullback positions, either side of Maher and Zimmerman. The inclusion of Bauer would also allow some in-game flexibility for Smith with the ability to switch to a back 3.

The midfield will see some rotation after a midweek match. Dax McCarty will return at the base of the diamond and Sean Davis should also come in on the left side of the diamond in place of Brian Anunga. On the right side of the diamond, I expect to see Randall Leal get another start as he is still looking to build chemistry with the rest of the squad.

On the offensive side of the ball, there will be the most consistency personnel-wise, but something needs to change to try and generate better opportunities. The team hasn’t register a shot on target in the last two matches but lacks much of a plan b. The big change will be Jacob Shaffelburg up top next to Surridge. Hopefully, some of his direct running can create some space for Mukhtar and Surridge.

The ‘Yotes have to figure out their offensive struggles or the season will end quite disappointingly.

Philadelphia Union

3rd (East) | 54 points | 15-9-8 | +17 GD |
Power Rankings: 7

Injuries / Absences:

Questionable: Leon Flach (core), Jose Martinez (knee), Jakob Glesnes (core)

As poor as Nashville’s post-Leagues Cup run as been, its been quite the opposite for the Philadelphia Union. They are unbeaten in their last seven, including a win over Atlanta United in the midweek.

With two games left, the Union find themselves in three points out of second and one point ahead of fourth. If they have any hope of finishing second in the East, they need to win both of their matches and hope that Orlando drops points.

With Nashville’s defense being somewhat depleted through injury and suspension, the Union will look to exploit that vulnerability. The attacking trio of Daniel Gazdag, Julian Carranza and Mikael Uhre are one of the best in the league with the possibility that all three finish with double-digit goals for the second season in a row.

If Nashville wants a result in this match, they will have to limit the opportunities that those three get because if the match becomes a shoot out, the ‘Yotes have proven to be unable to compete.

Pod Picks

Chris Ivey

Score: Nashville 0-2 Philadelphia
Scorers:
MOTM:
Bold Prediction: Nashville again finishes with sub 1 xG

Ben Wright

Score: Nashville 1-3 Philadelphia
Scorers: Walker Zimmerman
MOTM: Walker Zimmerman
Bold Prediction: Nashville take less than seven total shots

Jonathan Slape

Score: Nashville 1-1 Philadelphia
Scorers: Lukas MacNaughton
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Nashville gets a late draw that leads Gary Smith to declare that everything is fine.

Valair Shabilla

Score: Nashville 1-1 Philadelphia
Scorers: Hany Mukhtar
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Both goals from penalties

Fan Forecast

Match info

Teams: Philadelphia Union vs Nashville SC
Odds: PHII (-125), Draw (+260), NSH (+310) via BetMGM
Date: Saturday, October 7
Time: 6:30 pm CDT, Subaru Park, Chester, Pennesylvania
TV: Apple TV
Radio: 104.5 The Zone (English); El Jefe 96.7 (Spanish)
Forecast: 69°/48°. Cloudy 12% chance of rain. 73% 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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