Preview: Philadelphia Union vs Nashville SC

The draw streak continues for Nashville, who came away from their match against Columbus Crew SC with a 1-1 draw. Tonight, they travel to Philadelphia to take on the Union in a battle between the second and third-placed teams in the Eastern Conference. Can Nashville pick up three points? Will Philadelphia be able to pass Nashville and take possession of second place?

Philadelphia Union

Wednesday night’s 3-2 loss against Minnesota United broke Philadelphia’s 6 match unbeaten streak and saw the Union miss the opportunity to move above Nashville in the table. However, a win tonight would mean that the Union moved to second place based on the win tie breaker.

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Can Philadelphia take advantage of Nashville’s struggling offense and get that important win?

Coach Jim Curtin has several formations that he will deploy for this Philadelphia Union Team but when faced with a team that utilizes a three centerback formation, he tends to favor a 4-3-1-2.

Leon Flach, Alejandro Bedoya and José Martínez will look to overload the Nashville midfield and dictate play from the center of the pitch. The numerical advantage in the center should keep Nashville from being able to break out quickly when they win the ball back.

In the attack, Dániel Gazdag or Paxten Aaronson will play behind the forwards and look to operate in the gap between Nashville’s midfield and attack. They will try and draw one of the three Nashville center backs up the field and create space for
Kacper Przybyłko and Sérgio Santos.

The game will be won or lost by Philly in the midfield.

Nashville SC

Coach Gary Smith and team went into this week with the goal of having MLS Cup Playoff qualification wrapped up by week’s end. With the point against Columbus, these are the scenarios that see Nashville achieve that goal:

Along with just qualifying for the playoffs, Nashville is also chasing a second place finish in the Eastern Conference. A win tonight against Philadelphia would build a gap between themselves and the rest of the Eastern Conference teams. A tough match will be made even more difficult without MVP candidate Hany Mukhtar.

Due to the yellow cards they received against Columbus, Hany Mukhtar and Luke Haakenson are both suspended against Philadelphia. The absence of Mukhtar will especially hurt but could open the doors for several players. Post game, Coach Gary Smith said, “We’ve got one or two players who have been hurting over the fact that they’re not in the team. I would hope this is their opportunity to say, ‘you know what, you’ve been wrong’.”

It is safe to assume that one of those players who is hurt over his lack of inclusion is Aké Loba. He came off the bench on Wednesday and played the most minutes he has since his 45 minutes against New England. Loba looked very bright and was a direct contributor to Nashville’s equalizer. If Loba does not get the chance tonight, when will he?

C.J. Sapong has been prolific for Nashville this season but has failed to register a goal or assist in 5 matches. I would expect to see him get a rest and Daniel Ríos be given an opportunity to partner with Loba. Ríos and Loba looked to have good chemistry against Columbus and could be the spark to reignited Nashville’s attack.

Availability report

Pod Picks

Ben Wright

Score: Philadelphia 0-1 Nashville
Scorers: Daniel Ríos
MOTM: Daniel Ríos
Bold Prediction: Ríos scores a late winner

Jonathan Slape

Score: Philadelphia 1-2 Nashville
Scorers: Aké Loba, C.J. Sapong
MOTM: Aké Loba
Bold Prediction: Sapong gets the winner against his former club

Andy Simmons

Score: Philadelphia 1-1 Nashville
Scorers: C.J. Sapong
MOTM: Walker Zimmerman
Bold Prediction: Union grab a late equalizer

Davey Shepherd

Score: Philadelphia 0-1 Nashville
Scorers: Aké Loba
MOTM: Aké Loba
Bold Prediction: Loba puts in a Man of the Match Performance

Chris Ivey

Score: Philadelphia 0-0 Nashville
MOTM: Davey Romney
Bold Prediction: Willis makes several key saves

Fan Forecast

Kit matchup

Match Info

Teams: Philadelphia Union (3rd) vs Nashville SC (2nd)
Power Rankings: Philadelphia Union (9) vs Nashville SC (3)
Odds: Philadelphia (+110), Draw (+210), Nashville (+260) via BetMGM
Date: Saturday, October 23
Time: 6:30 PM Central, Subaru Park, Chester, Pennsylvania
TV:  MYTV30 (local), ESPN+ (out of market)
Radio: 94.9 The Game 2 (English); El Jefe 96.7 (Spanish)
Forecast: 63°/45°. Cloudy. 44% chance of rain. 72% 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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