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Union outlasts Nashville on penalties, advances to Eastern Conference final

Philadelphia Union will face the winner of the Revs and NYCFC next Sunday in the Eastern Conference final

MLS: Playoffs- Semifinals-Nashville SC at Philadelphia Union Mitchell Leff-USA TODAY Sports

CHESTER, Pa. — The Philadelphia Union are one win away from the MLS Cup final for the first time in club history thanks to a Herculean performance from Andre Blake, who turned away a pair of penalty kicks and watched as Nashville SC missed two others in a penalty shootout the hosts won 2-0.

The Union fell behind in the first half on a goal from Nashville star Hany Mukhtar — who was left unmarked at the six and headed home an Eric Miller cross in the 38th minute — but found an equalizer on the last play of the first half when Daniel Gazdag made good on a second crack at the goal from a corner kick to tie it at 1-1.

Sergio Santos had numerous chances to put the boys in blue up after coming on in the 57th minute for Leon Flach and Gazdag put another ball in the net off a corner kick that was called off for a foul whistled by referee Alan Chapman.

But in the end with the scored tied at 1 all, it came down to the Union’s biggest weapon denying two straight penalties in front of a packed River End.

Jack Elliott converted the first attempt for the Union and rookie Jack McGlynn made it 2-0 after a Santos miss but Blake’s first two saves were enough to get Alex Muyl and Walker Zimmerman to misfire on their attempts to salvage Nashville’s season with the Jamaican international in their way.

The Union will now await their opponent for the Eastern Conference final, which will be played next Sunday at 3 p.m. either in Chester if NYCFC wins on Tuesday or in Foxborough if the New England Revolution advance.