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Union move up to second place with 1-0 win over Nashville

The lone goal came off an 18th minute penalty

Carl Gulbish

While the Supporters’ Shield was officially awarded to New England Revolution, a 1-0 win over Nashville SC on Saturday night put the Philadelphia Union one place behind the Revs and in the driver’s seat to host a playoff game with three games left in the regular season.

The lone goal came for the Union in the 18th minute from the penalty spot after former Union player Taylor Washington was whistled for a handball in the box.

Union captain Alejandro Bedoya made a clever move in the box on the free kick from Jamiro Monteiro and when he let the ball go by it bounced and hit Washington’s arm in an unnatural position. Kacper Przybylko stepped up to convert his second penalty of the season and record his 39th career Union goal, which is second now only to Sébastien Le Toux all-time.

Coming off conceding five goals in their last two the Union defense held firm the rest of the way to make the penalty stand up as the game winner. Former Union striker CJ Sapong did nearly make them pay for one of the few mistakes on the night early in the second half when he turned Jakob Glesnes over but his shot in the end missed the mark.

Despite plenty of second half possession and five changes made by head coach Gary Smith, a Nashville team missing MVP candidate Hany Mukhtar (suspension) and captain Dax McCarty (injury) wasn’t able to break down the Union defense.

Nashville finished the night with just one shot on goal and eight total shots and had a 0.3 xG to the Union’s 1.9. The Union had a few waves of attacks where it looked like they might put the game to bed but Willis was able to deny Przybylko on the best chance of the night to score from open play.

The loss was just the fourth of the season for Nashville and the 10th home win of the season for the Union. It was Andre Blake’s 11th clean sheet of the season, a new career high.

The Union are now even on points with Nashville in second place with 49 points but are in sole possession of second place via the wins tiebreaker with a midweek road match against Toronto FC, a home game on Halloween against FC Cincinnati and a visit to Yankee Stadium to close the season.