It may be Kid’s Night tonight at Subaru Park but the Philadelphia Union won’t be kidding around when the whistle blows to start the game against Nashville SC tonight.
Arguably the biggest of the last four remaining matches of the regular season, the Union are looking for a victory over Nashville SC that would put them in second place. The Supporters’ Shield is no longer with the Sons of Ben, but a second place finish behind the New England Revolution would be a small feat considering some of the hard luck the Union has had this season juggling their first ever Champions League campaign.
“The reality is you know what we’ve done, the great games we’ve had in the past this year, the disappointing results at this stage, it’s an opportunity at home with second place on the line,” Union head coach Jim Curtin said Friday.
The Union has been hard to beat in Subaru Park this season with just four losses in all competitions. Since the 2-0 loss to Club America in the second leg of the CCL semifinal, the Union has outscored opponents 7-1 in three home wins.
Nashville has lost just three times this season, all on the road, while playing to an incredible 16 draws (eight of those on the road). Their 27 goals conceded is one behind the league lead (Seattle has 26).
“(Nashville head coach) Gary Smith has done an incredible job with their group,” Curtin said. “Very difficult team to beat and they’re about to set a record for (fewest) losses which is something to be proud of; (they’re) organized defensively, can hit you on the counter and has some really good attacking pieces as well.”
One of those attacking pieces — Hany Mukhtar — will be out on a yellow card suspension. So too will Luke Haakenson.
“These are the breaks of the year, and sometimes they tend to even out so we get a still a very good Nashville team, regardless of an injury or a player suspended,” Curtin said. “They have really good depth.”
The Union will be getting a boost in their attack with the return of Sergio Santos. Curtin wouldn’t say if he’ll be starting or coming off the bench, but expects to have him as a weapon in the match after missing him the last two games. Cory Burke is still out.
“To get another striker back certainly helps us now, especially with the unique skill set that he has,” Curtin said. “He is the one guy that does run in behind and stretches the field for us, which is really important.”
Kickoff tonight it scheduled for 7:38 p.m. The match will be broadcast live on PHL17 and PhiladelphiaUnion.com for fans in-market and on ESPN+ out-of-market.