Connect with us

Brotherly Game

Penalty kicks assist Union in wild 2-0 road win over Nashville



Photo courtesy of the Philadelphia Union

The Philadelphia Union defeated Nashville SC 2-0 Wednesday night as two more penalty kick goals from Daniel Gazdag gave the Union a much-needed win.

A match that was expected to advantage Nashville turned violent toward the end as a Union victory seemed more likely. Three red cards were issued during the match to Nashville’s Daniel Lovitz and Shaq Moore as well as the Union’s Julian Carranza.

Jim Curtin rolled out a slightly rotated lineup from the Union’s match against the LA Galaxy earlier in the week. Kai Wagner, Jesus Bueno, Nate Harriel and Quinn Sullivan all started after not being in the starting lineup in Los Angeles.

Nashville saw the better chances early on, but Philadelphia avoided catastrophe. Difficult misses from the hosts paired with good goalkeeping from Joe Bendik kept the score at a draw through the first water break at the 30th minute. While the Union saw good chances from Quinn Sullivan and Nashville saw Hany Muhktar try to work his usual magic, nothing worked.

That is until the Union caught a break in the 40th minute. Gazdag was shoved in the back as he rose up for a far post header from a Kai Wagner cross and the penalty was called. Lovitz was shown the first of two yellow cards on the play and Gazdag capped off the sequence by tucking his penalty shot into the right corner.

At points in the second half, it felt miraculous that Nashville was held scoreless. A chip from Muhktar hit the net, while Sean Davis skied his shot in front a wide-open net. The Soccer Club was dominating the match in xG, but couldn’t find the net.

Philadelphia had its chances as well, however sparse they may have been. The team often struggled to find good through balls, and the Nashville defense did a good job of forcing Union attackers to take touches away from goal on quick breaks.

The Union nearly suffered a penalty call in the 73rd minute, as the referee whistled Jack McGlynn for a handball. While the call on the field set Nashville up to draw the match, a VAR check reversed the call and saved the Union from disaster late in the match.

Deja Vu struck for Nashville in the 84th minute, as Lovitz took down Mikael Uhre in the box and gave up a penalty. Lovitz was rewarded with a second yellow card, and put Nashville down a man to close the match. Gazdag once again finished the sequence with a clean shot, this time to the left, before being badgered by the home support.

A matchup that was expected to be amicable quickly turned violent, as Carranza was grabbed while reaching for a ball by Moore. Moore made no attempt to play the ball, but neither did Carranza as he put the Nashville fullback in a headlock. Both players were ejected in the fifth minute of stoppage time in the second half.

After a long slog of 14 minutes of stoppage time, the Union escaped Nashville with three points. Both of the team’s goals may have come from the spot, but the shutout was massive for a team that had struggled on the road in recent matches.

If the Union had one man of the match, it was Jesus Bueno. Bueno, who wasn’t expected to play, put together a strong performance in the absence of Jose Martinez, who was battling an illness. He worked hard on both ends of the pitch and held down the fort when needed.

The Union will return to action with a match against New York City FC at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 15, at Subaru Park. The match will be broadcast on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.

Joe is a junior at Penn State studying journalism and sports studies, among other things. He's covered the Union since 2017 and has written for Brotherly Game / Philadelphia Soccer Now since 2019. He seeks to answer life's greatest questions, such as, "How did I get here?" and "Where is that large automobile?" You can find Joe on Twitter (iamjoelister) or via email (

Copyright © 2024 Philadelphia Soccer Now and Brotherly Game

Be the First to Know When Philadelphia Soccer News Happens!

Sign-up now to get all of our stories sent directly to your inbox, as soon as they're published.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.