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Match report: Nashville SC 0-2 Philadelphia Union

photo: Marjorie Elzey

Daniel Gazdag scored twice from the penalty spot as Philadelphia Union won 2-0 in Nashville on Wednesday night. Gazdag was on target in the 40th and 84th minutes while Joe Bendik held his first clean sheet with the Union in the victory. Daniel Lovitz and Shaq Moore both saw red cards for Nashville while Julian Carranza was sent off for the Union.

Jim Curtin made four changes to the team that lost in Los Angeles on Saturday. Kai Wagner returned from injury to start at left back while Nate Harriel replaced Olivier Mbaizo at right back. Jesus Bueno started at the base of the diamond as Jose Martinez missed out due to illness and Quinn Sullivan replaced Mikkel Uhre up top.

Quinn Sullivan came close to gave the Union the lead in the 9th minute. A ball through the midfield popped up on the youngster and he smashed a shot from 20 yards that ran off the left post and out of bounds.

Nashville had a great chance to score in the 15th minute. The hosts played quickly after a free kick was given near midfield and Hany Mukhtar squared a pass for Teal Bunbury near the top of the Union box. But the veteran striker hit his shot over the bar as Joe Bendik charged out to him.

The Union would earn a penalty kick in the 39th minute. After a good build up through the midfield, Bueno found Wagner on the left for the fullback to send in a cross. Wagner’s cross was toward the back post and Daniel Lovitz clearly shoved Daniel Gazdag as the two rose for the cross and a penalty was given. Gazdag stepped up to take and sent Joe Willis the wrong way tallying into the right corner of the goal.

Nashville came close to equalizing in the 52nd minute. The hosts worked a move well down the right side through Randall Leal who squared for Hany Mukhtar whose shot hit square off the crossbar from 12 yards out.

Nashville would again come close to equalizing in the 68th minute. Former Union man Fafa Picault’s header from a corner came straight back off the post before another shot was cleared off the line from Jack Elliott.

Nashville was initially given a penalty in the 71st minute after a corner kick appeared to deflect off of Jack McGlynn’s hand. But after a VAR review, the penalty was rescinded as the ball seemed to have struck the teenager in the shoulder.

The Union would double their lead in the 84th minute. Mikkel Uhre broke into the Nashville box on the right side and was cleaned out by a late tackle from Daniel Lovitz as he went to cross the ball. The referee again pointed to the spot and Lovtiz was shown a second yellow card and red card for Nashville. After a lengthy delay, Gazdag stepped up and fired into the lower left corner of the goal to give Philadelphia a 2-0 lead.

Both Shaq Moore and Julian Carranza were shown straight red cards in stoppage time after a coming together. Moore appeared to rugby tackle Carranza as the striker looked to run on to a through ball and the Union striker reacted by trying to throw the Nashville defender. After a short delay, both were shown red cards for violent conduct. Carranza continued to argue his card and will be lucky to avoid further punishment for failure to leave the field.

Philadelphia is next in action when they host NYCFC on Saturday (7:30 p.m.)

Three Points

  • Job Done. After two straight road defeats in Atlanta and Los Angeles, the Union responded with a good effort in Nashville and took all three points. It wasn’t pretty times at times, but it’s job done and the Union will be content with the points.
  • Gazdag. Two more from the penalty spot for the Hungarian. Even after a lengthy delay and a number of Nashville players running interference, the Union man hit a perfect penalty to score his 9th goal of the season with his second penalty.
  • Clean sheet. It was Joe Bendik’s first clean sheet for the Union, but more importantly it was a big performance from the Union defense to limit Nashville from many big scoring chances. A little help from the woodwork didn’t hurt either.

Bonus point:

  • Absurd. It was absurd that MLS played on Wednesday with a full slate of games as the Gold Cup Semifinals took place. As we await an irrelevant tournament against Liga MX to suck up the late summer schedule, many MLS teams were again without their best players on Wednesday as the Gold Cup played on.

Philadelphia Union

Joe Bendik, Jack Elliott, Jakob Glesnes, Jesús Bueno, Kai Wagner (Matt Real 72′), Nathan Harriel (Olivier Mbaizo 72′), Dániel Gazdag (Andres Perea 90+10′), Leon Flach, Alejandro Bedoya (Jack McGlynn 61′), Julián Carranza, Quinn Sullivan (Mikkel Uhre 61′)
Subs: Chris Donovan, Holden Trent, Joaquín Torres

Nashville SC

Joe Willis, Walker Zimmerman, Lukas MacNaughton, Dax McCarty, Daniel Lovitz, Shaq Moore, Hany Mukhtar, Sean Davis (Taylor Washington 87′), Randall Leal (Alex Muyl 63′), Jacob Shaffelburg (Fafa Picault 61′), Teal Bunbury (Jan Gregus 87′)
Subs: Ethan Zubak, Elliot Panicco, Brian Anunga, Josh Bauer, Luke Haakenson

Scoring Summary

PHI: Daniel Gazdag – 40′ (pk)
PHI: Daniel Gazdag – 84′ (pk)

Disciplinary Summary

NSH: Daniel Lovitz – 39′ (foul)
NSH: Randall Leal – 43′ (foul)
PHI: Kai Wagner – 44′ (foul)
NSH – Daniel Lovitz – 81- (foul – second yellow card/red card)
PHI: Daniel Gazdag – 84′ (excessive celebration)
NSH: Shaq Moore – 90+5′ (violent conduct red card)
PHI: Julian Carranza – 90+5′ (violent conduct red card)


  1. Murphthesurf says:

    Wow, a new low for mls officiating.

    Carranza should have only gotten a yellow, imho. He will be missed on Saturday. Got 3 points on the road, which helps. Could end up in 3rd place going into the new baloney tournament.

    • Once Carranza’s arm hit Shak Moore’s neck the red card was a foregone conclusion. If he had just not reacted, the Union would have finished off the game up two players and Carranza could play on Saturday. It was an understandable reaction but a shame it happened.

  2. What a strange match. 14 min of stoppage time should be illegal. Just another night of scoring via pk. Better then being scored on by pk.
    How in the world did Bashville not score. In other news… thankfully Andre on his way back now that the dumbass Gold Cup is over for us and them. Sheesh. Shit show there.
    Congrats to Joe Bendik’s two post clean sheet. Some days it’s better lucky then good. Carry on— I guess.

    • Deez Nuggs says:

      That one sequence where Nashville had chance after chance in the recycle and couldn’t bungle it over the line… that’s as clear an indication that the soccer gods aren’t with you on a night. But credit to the boys for keeping Muktar off the board.

    • Speaking of dumbass Gold Cup, anyone know why USA played our B/C team over an international break? I get it when the other leagues are playing, but it was a break.
      Did they not want Callaghan to win?

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        Because all the A team guys just played in Nations League and they mostly play in Europe so this is their off-season. They get barely 6 weeks off as it is, with the Euro schedule, so they were never going to play in both Nations League and Gold Cup.

  3. OneManWolfpack says:

    Everyone should remember the luck we got tonight… because that gets paid back at some point. That said they played overall a much better game than the last two, so that was excellent to see.
    I’m not a big XG guy but if someone would’ve told me Nashville’s XG was over 3 (which I believe it was), and the Union not only won but had a clean sheet… I would’ve lost my house in that bet.
    It was also great to see Sullivan and Bueno step up. I thought for the most part, they were both excellent.
    Now get 3 more on Saturday. DOOP!

  4. Jim actually substituted at 60 minutes, no SoCal Surfer kit, 2 penalty goals, nice shots by the kids, 2 post/bar for Joe, and an away win.

    Better to be lucky……..

    Caranza deserved his Red, stupidly… and frankly, that ref was just hired from Ukraine, and it seemed that the extra time was ‘World Cup’ calculated.

  5. This league is surreal. That was one of the stranger games I’ve seen, which in MLS is saying something. Nashville have no one to blame for that result but they’re astonishingly poor finishing. And both penalties they gave up were clear and obvious. Just straight up idiotic challenges.

    Only thing I took away from that match is that Bueno is a good player. Thought he had a strong night. Sullivan was good, too. The rest of it is better off forgotten.

  6. Andy Muenz says:

    Not a great performance by the Union, but horrible finishing by Nashville.
    14 minutes of stoppage time actually made sense since there was a hydration break, several substitutions, multiple VAR checks, and a couple of injury slow downs. He actually probably should have extended it another minute from the red card time (he did extend it one minute for that but it probably should have been two).
    One thing no one pointed out was that the last 8 or 9 minutes of stoppage time was played with two balls on the field. On a Nashville throw in on the far side just after the red cards, the original ball went on the field into the corner. Nobody bothered to do anything about it until the final throw in of the game when someone kicked it into the net.
    Apple’s video coverage was a big an improvement over Saturday night. A lot fewer closeups on players while play was happening. However, I do have to question why they didn’t show a replay of the Gazdag goal that was called back for offsides. I’m assuming that the linesman got it right but I would like to have at least seen it so I could be sure (and the restart was real quick so VAR must have confirmed it quickly).

    • Did that actually go in the net? I could have sworn it went wide and hit the ad boards behind the endline. To your point there wasn’t a replay shown, so I wasn’t sure.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        It did not go in the net. I am pretty sure it was wide and Cangelosi never corrected himself, when he said it was offside. That’s what I saw/heard.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        Thanks for the correction. My eyes aren’t great and given how far away the cameras are, I sometimes have to trust the announcers know what they are talking about.

  7. Blake is back! Blake is back! Blake is back!

  8. Whenever bueno plays he plays really well. Having the back up cdm take care of the top goal scorer in the league? That’s pretty impressive. Now I’m not scared when Martínez gets a stupid amount of yellows.

  9. Eric Boyle says:

    Part of me was rooting for Jamacia to win, but it is exhausting watching Surly Joe with one eye closed! How Nashville didn’t score during the scrum in front of the net when Joe flapped at the ball and missed, I’ll never know!

    Luckily Nashville had a horrible game. On to NYFC….

  10. Atomic Spartan says:

    Strange Brew:
    14+ minutes?
    Sullivan a threat
    Joe Bendik Redux
    Goal Posts or Wall?
    Bueno es muy bueno
    A third PK foul ignored
    Hany Who? Tarnished Talisman
    And a schoolyard wrestling match to boot
    Just another sweltering day in Union history

  11. Deez Nuggs says:

    Shaq Moore will get additional games added to his ban. The replay seemed to show him grabbing Carranza’s face. Julian’s reaction was understandable given the guy basically attacked him, but the rules will uphold a red for him too. That’s not fair but it is what it is. He will probably get a fine for failing to leave the field. But maybe the one match ban doesn’t change. What I don’t get is why Shaq Moore went insane to begin with. I hadn’t noticed much going down between them and the attempt to turn and run is pretty standard stuff.

  12. Deez Nuggs says:

    Serious question: before each match the stadium turns its back on the opposition during lineup announcements and yells “sucks” after each. You know this. But when Messi comes into our stadium, are we still going to do that? Will it be more tongue in cheek than serious? Clearly no one legitimately thinks the best player the game has ever seen “sucks”.

    • Chris Gibbons says:

      If that ridiculous tradition dies because of Messi, his coming to the league will have been a positive no matter what else happens.

      • Atomic Spartan says:

        Yeah, it is ridiculous. But really now, this is Philly after all. A little harmless, humorous ridicule provides an emotional release after a hard day at the gig. I look forward to chuckling at Messi “SUCKS.” Of course he does not, but the guy already has enough money and trophies to salve his wounded feelings. Why deprive him of the full Philly experience?

      • soccerdad720 says:

        ^^^^ this — exactly. He’ll live and probably smile a little.

      • If we did it for Beckham, Henry, Keane, Ibrahimovic, et al., Messi might feel disrespected if we don’t do it for him.
        And, in terms of G O A T, Pele retired the first World Cup trophy. Retired it. That chunk of gold resides in Brazil permanently.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        It’s ridiculous but it’s harmless and it makes me laugh. I especially like saying “SUCKS” to the minute, when they announce the sub. “Substitution made at the 68th minute.” – SUCKS!! HA! Childish but who cares.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        Personally, I yell “booooo” rather “sucks” so there is no reason for me to change. Well, I might see if I can get enough money to pay for my season tickets in which case I won’t bother to yell anything.

      • Was at the game and was curious to see what the Nashville crowd would do during Union lineup. Unless I missed something, there wasn’t a lineup announced for Union. Credit to the city of Nashville for supporting their team with sold-out attendance of 31,000 on a Wednesday night

    • Pepito, The Biggest Cat in the Whole World says:

      Do you believe that people were yelling “sucks” as a way to express their deeply held opinions on the quality of opposing players? Because if so I think you may have massively misunderstood the whole thing

      • Deez Nuggs says:

        Not in the least. But it just seems like it will be different for Messi.

      • I’m with you Pepito! It’s silly and maybe a bit childish but it gets the point across! And almost the entire stadium is involved. I will continue to use SUCKS as long as its still a thing. Most of the season ticket holders near us laugh at the sub minute sucking. Its not the most adult behavior but I don’t think its offensive. The 6/7 year olds behind us really put some effort into it. Makes it feel like good north east parenting. Now go out there and give em hell! Messi will most likely enjoy that kind of banter. I’m pretty sure he’s heard worse. Its not like we should boo him. And after the sucks…we can applaud. Then back to being a rival player, who we will hate because of his great performance. But also admire for a career filled with accomplishments.

    • We won’t find out until 2024 at any rate. The Flamingos will not make the playoffs this year.
      Plus, he may retire or skip the trip like Beckham used to (if memory serves).

  13. The soccer gods have leveled the Union’s ledger. The Union deserved to lose this game as much as they deserved to win at San Jose.

    1) I watched the USMNT game v. Panama and the Union v. Nashville at the same time. I didn’t see much difference in the talent or the skill levels of the four teams, which I do mean as a slur against the USMNT B/C team.

    2) Just as Andre Blake gives the Union a chance to win every single game in which he plays, Bendik gives the Union a chance to lose every single game in which he plays. Thank goodness for the woodwork!

    3) I liked the way Carranza’s teammates pulled him away from Shaq Moore, who was the clear instigator. Unfortunately, Carranza’s red card is going to stick–let’s hope that there is only a one game ban involved.

    4) I thought that Lovitz’ late nasty challenge on Uhre was worthy of a straight red card. Uhre is very fortunate to have escaped serious injury. A more experienced ref might have given a yellow to one or more of the dissenting Nashville players–there is no way that the review of that play should have taken more than 30 seconds, even though the call surely decided the match.

    5) I am happy for the Mexico-Jamaica result if it means the return of Andre Blake and Damian Lowe for Saturday’s match.

    • Deez Nuggs says:

      Hard to tell from the broadcast but it looked to me like it took so long to review because the Nashville players were saying that there was a handball in the build up that would negate the penalty.

    • The ref last night is a former UEFA referee, and has been the center whistle for USL, UEL games, as well as other UEFA games. He fled Ukraine when the war broke out, and has taken refuge here in the states.
      We often here that MLS expansion will dilute the player pool… well that clearly hasn’t happened as the league’s quality of play and players has increased. The one area that has been diluted? The quality of the referee pool. Then you couple the increase of MLS teams, and add in the increased number of USL teams…. NWSL…the need for experienced officials to man VAR… and there simply aren’t enough experienced refs to go around.

  14. Good interview with Gary Smith, in the Tennessean, explaining his comments about the ref & cards last night. Very interesting…. and other than the “homer in him”, pretty accurate.

    Hey, maybe we are a gritty, good team. And with Blake back, take it out on NYCFC using the 3-5-2, knowing Blake is within frame and probably pissed at Jamaica, again.

    We still NEED a dynamic back up, under 25.

    DOOP not poop

    OH AGAIN… Is it me or is Kai 80% terrible at corner kicks, usually kicking low line drives at the first defender? Watch the video tapes.

    • Many other teams this season have defended the Union by swarming zone 14 with four or five players.
      Nashville did not.

      • Cause Nashville, at it’s core, plays like us.

        The rest of the league adapted like Borgs.

  15. John P. O'Donnell says:

    Never thought Joe could get a clean sheet. Nashville didn’t look that impressive and if ever a team needed to sign a DP striker….
    With Messi about to debut, there are a few things I hope his presence does in his short stay in the league and that’s change the salary structure of the league. I’ve read many different ideas and hopefully one gets put into place. Personally with the hopeful infusion of revenue staying with three DP’s and changing the Cap to a floor & a ceiling would be my pick with any prize money or selling of players going towards the ceiling.
    Some would argue teams winning tournaments or championships would get an unfair advantage as their ceiling would be higher than other teams ….. That’s the reward for striving to win. Getting money back for the roster for selling players would also reward teams who believe in development at the same time still trying to compete for trophies.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      Can’t agree with you there. Salary increases tend to get passed on to season ticket holders and there was already a pretty significant increase from last season to this.

    • Joe only gets his first clean sheet since 2018 because of the woodwork and terrible finishing. The one “save” I saw him make popped through his hands and was on the doorstep but Nashville could not finish in the ensuing scrabble.

  16. soccerdad720 says:

    One question: I just caught the highlights. In one part, the announcer says “….has requested a transfer from this phildelphia Union side, as his wife and son cannot get a visa”)

    who is he talking about?

  17. Post: 2 saves
    Jack Elliott: 2 saves
    Kai Wagner: 1 save
    Joe Bendik: 0 saves

    • I remember now….

      I think Curtin might have found the solution to havimg Joe in goal.

      Park the bus, line up on the goalline, post to post


      It worked great last night!

    • When Blake is out we should start Elliott in goalie

  18. Go figure that the one match the Union seemed *destined* to lose — up against an excellent club, in their fortress of a park, our offense sputtering, against the top defense in the league, stuck with our underperforming backup keeper against the reigning MVP, another one of our top players a late scratch — and they win by 2 goals. Soccer be crazy sometimes.

    Some comments that I have not seen made so far…

    1. Bendik did not have much to do last night, but he should be given credit for coming out aggressively and making himself big on Bunbury. Yes, Bunbury should have scored anyway (and if he had, it would not have been on Bendik), but the way Bendik came out had a lot to do with why he put that shot high. For that one play, I will say that Joe earned his clean sheet.

    2. Up until the 90th minute, I had been saying to myself, “Wow, I really like this ref. He’s really done an excellent job with this match.” And then, of course, he blew it all up with an entire extra period of stoppage time in 85 degree humid heat, and a pair of ridiculous red cards. (Plus a yellow to Jim on the bench! When has that ever happened?!)

    3. I thought Carranza sucked, and he has been in a really bad run of form of late. I wanted Jim to take him out for Uhre instead of taking Quinn out. (But I have tix to the NYC match, so it looks like I will probably get to see the Uhre-Sullivan striker duo anyway…)

    4. Bueno looked so good that we might have to see if we can get him into the lineup *with* Jose sometime. (Though I admit I’m not sure exactly how…)

    • Agree especially with 1. Bendik rushing Bumbury was the key to the win. Had we fallen behind so early it would have been another road L.

    • Deez Nuggs says:

      Carranza has been a little out of form recently but still puts in the work. I blame the match congestion as much as anything and I think you saw a freshness when Uhre came in exactly because he got to rest a bit. As for the reds, the ref clearly lost control but those were also clear reds. Hands to the face, headlocks, always a red.

  19. Bueno was a pleasant surprise. Mbaizo leaving? Sullivan looked Respectable.

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