Photo by Mike Meredith/Club and Country
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A return home for Nashville SC didn’t have a dream finish for the Boys in Gold, but playing in Music City for the first time in 2022 – and on their own home turf for the first time ever, NSC got a penalty strike from Randall Leal to answer a smooth finish for Philadelphia Union’s Mikael Uhre, and the teams each took a point in the 1-1 draw.
Nashville players found post twice in the first seven minutes, with Dax McCarty’s long-distance strike inches too far to the left, and Alex Muy’s attempt pushed into the crossbar by Union keeper Andre Blake. In the 23rd, Walker Zimmerman headed a corner kick to the far post, where Alex Muyl appeared to have a tap-in, but for an incredible recovery from Blake to keep his net clean. Nashville continued buzzing, with Hany Mukhtar forcing Blake into a save.
From there, though, Philly would find a handle on the game. The Union kept the ball pinned in Nashville’s end – the philosophy of the press-and-punt strategy that Jimi Curtin has focused on this year – and fouls by Dan Lovitz and Alex Muyl led to yellow cards and dangerous set-piece position for the Union. Fortunately, a simple clearance on the first and a save by Joe Willis on the second kept the opposition scoreless. Julian Carranza struck just wide of the post in first-half stoppage time.
Nashville continued to give Philadelphia dangerous set-piece opportunities out of the locker room. A free kick from the right wing drew a block from Walker Zimmerman, preventing the first goal in stadium history going in favor of the visitors.
It was from a Nashville dead ball – a throw-in – that ultimately saw Philadelphia draw in front. A miscommunication between Dax McCarty and Sean Davis resulted in an NSC turnover, and Daniel Gazdag went Route One over the top to Mikael Uhre, who cut back against Walker Zimmerman and slotted home in space.
Nashville would not go home completely empty-handed, though. A cross into the penalty area from Leal struck the outstretched hand of Philly’s Jose Martínez, and Leal himself converted the ensuing penalty. It was the Costa Rica International’s first goal of the year, and the home team’s first in GEODIS Park.
While Nashville had some late opportunities to find a winner, including a chance for DP Aké Loba in his longest substitute appearance of 2022, neither team could muster enough in the late stages to find a deciding goal.
With the draw, Nashville improves to 3-3-3 on the year, but remains looking for its first win at GEODIS Park. On 12 points, the Boys in Gold stand ninth in the Western Conference. Real Salt Lake visits Nashville next Sunday, another afternoon contest. RSL beat Nashville 2-1 when the teams played in Utah March 19.
- 33′ NSH Yellow card – 2 Dan Lovitz (foul)
- 37′ NSH Yellow card – 19 Alex Muyl (foul)
- 45’+5 Half time
- 49′ NSH Yellow card – 54 Sean Davis (foul)
- 59′ PHI Yellow card – 27 Kai Wagner (dissent)
- 62′ PHI Yellow card – 8 Jose Martinez (foul)
- 64′ PHI Substitution – ON 19 Cory Burke, off 9 Julián Carranza
- 66′ PHI GOAL – 7 Mikael Uhre (right footed breakaway, after cutback), assisted by 6 Daniel Gazdag (ball over the top)
- 72′ NSH Substitution – On 9 Aké Loba, off 54 Sean Davis
- 75′ PHI Substitution – On 33 Quinn Sullivan, off 7 MIkael Uhre
- 76′ NSH Yellow card – 8 Randall Leal (foul)
- 84′ PHI Yellow card (time-wasting)
- 85′ NSH GOAL – 8 Randall Leal (right-footed penalty, Jose Martínez handball on Leal cross)
- 87′ NSH Substitution – On 27 Brian Anunga, off 8 Randall Leal
- 90+4 PHI Substitution – On 2 Matt Real, off 31 Leon Flach
- 90’+6 full time