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Union hold Nashville to a 1-1 draw in first game at Geodis Park

Uhre gave the Union the lead but a handball led to a Nashville penalty that tied the game

Morgan Tencza

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Philadelphia Union were five minutes from taking all three points in Nashville SC’s first game in their sparkling new stadium, but a handball in the box led to a Nashville equalizer from the spot and the teams instead battled to a 1-1 draw.

Mikael Uhre finally opened his Union scoring account and notched his name into the history books when he scored the first goal in Geodis Park history after collecting a floated long ball from Daniel Gazdag. Uhre shook off his defender and got the ball past Joe Willis to give the Union the 1-0 advantage in the 66th minute.

Nashville got a big break when a ball off a corner kick hit the arm of Jose Martinez in the box. Unlike the playoff game last year when Andre Blake denied Nashville twice and they missed another two penalties to send the Union through to the conference final, Blake wasn’t able to stop Randall Leal’s spot kick despite diving the right direction.

Blake’s magic was on full display in the first half and kept the hosts from taking an early lead. Blake turned away three dangerous chances and woodwork denied two others. He made two more saves in the second half.

Once the sellout crowd of 30,109 exploded from the first Nashville goal, the home side built on the momentum and nearly took all three points with a late push. The Union defense bent a little but didn’t break and were fortunate a late video review for another potential hand ball in the box resulted in a no call.

The Nashville draw kicks off a congested month of May for the Union, which hit the road again to play at LAFC on Saturday and head to Orlando for a U.S. Open Cup match on May 10.