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Apr 5, 2024 7:46 pm

Nashville SC, ‘back on track,’ prepare for unbeaten Union

hany mukhtar

Nashville SC coach Gary Smith liked how his team bounced back from a 5-0 loss at Los Angeles FC on March 23, gaining a 2-2 tie with the defending MLS champion Columbus Crew on March 30.

“A much different vibe than you can imagine from the L.A. game,” Smith said. “A lot of positives … I think we’ve moving in a nicer direction and getting back on track.”

Smith and his team will get a better idea of what direction they’re really heading on Saturday night when they host the unbeaten Philadelphia Union in an Eastern Conference match.

Nashville SC (1-1-4, 7 points) took a 2-1 halftime lead against Columbus behind stoppage-time markers from Hany Mukhtar and Anibal Godoy but couldn’t make the one-goal advantage stick. They also got a pair of assists from Jacob Shaffelburg.

Coming into this match, Nashville stands 11th in the conference, although it’s yet to lose at home, going 1-0-3 there. Captain Walker Zimmerman (knee) has been out since March 7, while defenders Lukas McNaughton and Shaq Moore are questionable with hip injuries.

Philadelphia (2-0-3, 9 points) enters this one with wins in its last two matches, including a 2-0 win on March 30 over previously unbeaten Minnesota. The Union got an early goal from Daniel Gazdag and an 84th-minute tally via Julian Carranza to seal the result.

Philadelphia coach Jim Curtin is expecting a tough, challenging match from Nashville SC.

“Any time we get together with Nashville, it starts with physicality and intensity from minute one,” Curtin said. “We’re a team now that can’t be individual. We have to do everything together.”

The biggest injury question for the Union is in goal. Andre Blake left last week’s match in the 74th minute, replaced by backup Oliver Semmle, and has been in concussion protocol since. He was listed as questionable for Saturday.

Philadelphia went 1-0-1 last year against Nashville SC, with a 2-0 victory in Nashville and a scoreless draw at home.

–Field Level Media

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