The Philadelphia Union’s first road trip to Nashville was not an enjoyable one thanks in part to former Union striker CJ Sapong.
Sapong scored in the second minute and the Nashville SC defense kept a clean sheet in handing the Union their first loss since May 1.
Though the final score was 1-0, Nashville was the far better side and it was only a couple Andre Blake stops, a goal line clearance and a fortuitous bounce that kept the deficit from being worse after Sapong burned the back line with a quick pass off a great pass from Randall Leal.
Dániel Gazdag made his first Union start after his injury-shortened stint with Hungary at the Euros and came up big defensively to deny Walker Zimmerman with a goal line clearance. He also had a promising-looking bid to tie the game but his shot went wide of the mark. Nashville also had a near own goal by Olivier Mbaizo hit off the post.
The game also marked Alejandro Bedoya’s return from injury and Jose Martinez came off the bench after returning from Copa America, but even with most of his regulars available Jim Curtin wasn’t able to get the kind of performance he would’ve hoped coming off a disappointing outing in Chicago that ended in a 3-3 draw thanks to a 79th minute own goal.
After picking up 7 points in their first three league games away from home, the Union have just 2 points from their last three road trips and it could be even worse if not for a stoppage wonder strike from Jakob Glesnes to rescue a point in Atlanta and the aforementioned own goal in Chicago.
Credit goes to Nashville for being able to sit on a lead and make the Union uncomfortable as they looked poised on more than one occasion to stretch the lead, including late in the first half when there was a video review on a possible Bedoya handball in the box. But tonight’s performance — home or away — is not the standard where the Union want to be or know they are capable of being.
The Union will have a much shorter road trip up I-95 for a Thursday match to get a new streak going now that they’re nine-game unbeaten streak is history. They’ll face the New York Red Bulls at 8 p.m. at Red Bull Arena.