Match previews

Match preview: Nasvhille SC vs Philadelphia Union

Who: Nasvhille SC vs Philadelphia Union

What: MLS Regular Season, Matchday 8

Where: GEODIS Park, Nashville, TN

When: Saturday, April 6th,  8:30pm ET

Watch: Apple TV – MLS Season Pass

Whistle: REF: Victor Rivas, AR1: Jeffrey Greeson, AR2: Jeffrey Swartzel, 4TH: Sergii Demianchuk, VAR: David Barrie, AVAR: Mike Kampmeinert

The Union travel south to the Music City on Saturday night to take on Nashville SC at GEODIS Park.

The two sides have squared off a total of six times since Nashville’s inaugural season in 2020.  Back in 2021, Nashville won the first meeting 1-0, but have not won since. The Union have taken the upper hand in the all-time series with two victories, including a 1-1 (2-0 penalty) victory in the 2021 Eastern Conference semifinals.

The two teams last met in the penultimate matchday of the 2023 season when they battled to a 0-0 draw at Subaru Park.

Scouting Report: Nashville SC

After getting bounced from the Concacaf Champions Cup in the Round of 16 by Miami (3-5) Nashville’s focus has fully shifted to MLS play for the time being.

With six games played, Nashville currently sits 11th in the Eastern Conference with 6 pts (1W-4D-1L).

After getting walloped 5-0 on the road by LAFC two weeks ago, Nashville battled Columbus, the Eastern Conference leaders, last Saturday to a tough 2-2 draw. The match was played at home with two first-half stoppage time goals by Hany Mukhtar and Anibal Godoy (which won Goal of Matchday 7)

The defining story thus far for Nashville has been their defensive struggles.

After conceding just 32 goals all of last year (tied for the least in MLS), Nashville has conceded almost 2 goals per game so far in 2024.  Letting in five against LAFC certainly skews that number a bit, but they’ve also managed just one clean sheet in MLS play through six games.

A notable contributor to those struggles has been injuries.

USMNT center-back and team captain Walker Zimmerman has seen the field for just 94 MLS minutes, having been sidelined since picking up a knee injury in their Champions Cup match against Miami on March 7th.  Fellow centerback  Lukas MacNaughton has missed two straight games with a hip injury and defender Shaq Moore missed last week’s match against Columbus with a hip injury sustained in training. Zimmerman and Moore will remain sidelined for Saturday but MacNaughton is in contention to suit up.

Offensively, winger Tyler Boyd, who started 7 games (all competitions) and has one goal on the season, is in the mix to play after missing last week’s game against Columbus with a groin injury.

Similar to the Union, Nashville’s team is comfortable without the ball and looks to find goals in transition and on set pieces.  Their main threat to score those goals is forward Hany Mukhtar.  Mukhtar was the team’s leading scorer last year with 15 goals and he’s found the net once as of 2024.  Fellow forward Teal Bunbury leads the team with two goals thus far.

Injury Report: Zimmerman (Out), Moore (Out), Leal (Out) MacNaughton (Questionable) 

Scouting Report: Philadelphia Union

The Union, too, were bounced from the Concacaf Champions Cup in the Round of 16 and have been solely focused on MLS during the last three matchdays.  The results of those three matches suggest that the team has found their footing while no longer having to juggle midweek matches and travel.

The Union enter Saturday’s match having won consecutive matches, following up their 3-1 road win against Portland with a commanding 2-0 home win last week against the Western Conference leaders Minnesota United.

Philadelphia also remains one of three MLS teams that have yet to lose a match in league play (FC Cincinnati, LA Galaxy).

After a shaky start to the year, veteran center-backs Jakob Glesnes and Jack Elliot have begun to show signs of the defensive stoutness that made them one of MLS’ top center-back pairings in 2022 and 2023.

Offensively, the Union have been riding the hot foot of forward Julian Carranza, who has seven goals in seven games in 2024 (all competitions).

In contrast to Nashville, Philadelphia have also been able to, mostly, avoid the injury bug so far in 2024.  The exception to that has been starting goalkeeper Andre Blake, who missed three games earlier this season and exited Saturday’s match against Minnesota in the 74′ with a head injury.  Speaking about Blake’s injury in his midweek press conference on Thursday, Jim Curtin had this to say:

“Andre was on the field today. He’s in the final stages of clearing concussion protocol. Head injuries are something we take very seriously, at the Philadelphia Union and in the league. He has progressed and felt better each day, good enough to be out on the field today, but the final test is what goes on with the medical staff. If he passes that today, he’ll be good for the game.”

If Blake is unable to suit up, it will be Oliver Semmle in net for his fifth appearance this year.

Injury Report: Blake (Questionable), Flach (Out) Trent (Out) LeFlore (Out)

Matchup to Watch:  Possession concession

With two teams that are more than content to play without the ball, both midfields will be looking to take advantage of mistakes by the opposition and move quickly in transition.

Player to Watch: Hany Mukhtar.’s Charles Boehm ran an interesting piece on Mukhtar’s altered gameday routine during the month of Ramadan.

Prediction: Nashville SC 1 – 2 – Philadelphia Union


  1. Prediction: Nashville SC 1 – 2 – Philadelphia Union
    is that with Blake in the lineup?

  2. Deez Nuggs says:

    One big difference between the teams… while both prefer to play without the ball in transition, the Union are able to play well with it. I expect Nashville to give up possession and the Union to keep them in their own half most of the game. Our defense has been tighter (the last two games for sure) than any team Nashville has faced. Stats-wise, we generally force low percentage shots for the opposition. Its quite possible to come away not only with a win but a clean sheet, as the Nashville offense has mostly struggled.

  3. 1-0 win from a Sullivan Golazo

  4. Gruncle Bob says:

    The U scored the first goal in Geodis Park. Let’s hope they add to that tally.

  5. Cmon the U !!! DOOP !!!

  6. Andy Muenz says:

    No Blake, No Uhre tonight.

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