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Union Extend Unbeaten Streak To 8 With Another Draw

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Image Credit – Kyle Krieger: Stream Punk Entertainment

Early in the 2022 season before the Philadelphia Union went into full “Subaru Park Beast Mode” in July, there was a stretch where the team was unbeaten for 9 games over a two month stretch from late April to June, but it was rather unsatisfying since 7 of them were draws. The Union appear to be flipping the script this season putting together an oddly similar streak down the stretch this season, earning their 6th draw in 8 games playing Nashville SC to a 0-0 draw Saturday evening at Subaru Park on Fan Appreciation night for their final regular season home match. Philadelphia goalie Andre Blake and Nashville goalie Joe Willis pitched the shutouts for their respective sides. 

The first half started with a chance for Teal Bunbury of Nashville in the 5th minute but Jakob Glesnes slid in from the side to block his shot before it reached Andre Blake. In the 10th minute Jose Martinez did the same move, blocking another Bunbury shot on a slide sticking up his leg for the block, absorbing the full force of Bunbury’s shot on his ankle which kept El Brujo down on the pitch for a bit. He resumed play but went down again a few minutes later and again stayed in the game with a noticeable limp. Martinez returned to his standard form, earning a yellow card in the 24th minute for a stiff arm while playing the ball in the midfield. In the 28th Alejandro Bedoya had the best chance for the Union with a right footed shot from outside the box off a pass by Quinn Sullivan, but Joe Willis made an acrobatic leaping save to keep the clean sheet. Nashville failed to record a shot on target for the third straight half of play including the entirety of their game against Orlando on Wednesday, bringing the game into halftime scoreless. 

The second half was more of the same from two defense-first squads, with many stoppages in play for fouls and cards resulting in neither team being able to build any sort of momentum after some early pressure from Nashville fizzled out. In the 50th minute Teal Bunbury fielded a pass from Dax McCarty and sent a shot from the center of the box that was saved by Blake in the bottom right corner. The Union tried to spark things by bringing in Mikael Uhre for Quinn Sullivan in the 57th minute. The spark initially appeared to work in the 58th minute when Alejandro Bedoya was able to lift up for a Kai Wagner corner kick and get a good header on target but it was directly at Nashville goalie Joe Willis. Things continued to get testy between the squads with Nashville captain Walker Zimmerman earning a yellow card in the 72nd minute for a bad tackle on Bedoya and Jakob Glesnes earning one for Philadelphia in the 90th for a late slide tackle on Hani Mukhtar in the waning minutes of the double clean sheet as the Union once again left points on the table and picked up one instead of the much needed three. 

Notably, this was the shortest Jim Curtin press conference in recent memory following a home match, which is understandable since there isn’t much to say after a match like this with two defensive teams fighting for playoff position. Union coach Jim Curtin said the phrase “It’s a point, we’ll move on” several times during the postgame press conference. Curtin also added about the style of both these teams “Hopefully we don’t play Nashville in a 3 game series because you guys will fall asleep.” 

News and Notes:

  • Jesus Bueno missed this match due to a lingering ankle injury. Jim Curtin said he is day to day and trying to recover enough to play for the Venezuela national team against Brazil next week. 
  • The Union currently sit in 3rd place in the tightly packed Eastern Conference with 55 points at 15-8-10. They are one point ahead of Columbus sitting in 4th, and only three points ahead of New England in 5th. 
  • New England has a game in hand playing Nashville next week, so the Union can finish anywhere from 3rd to 5th place in the East, with the top four seeds earning home field advantage in the new Best-of-3 first round series of the MLS playoffs. Cincinnati and Orlando have already clinched the Supporter’s Shield and 2nd place in the East respectively. 
  • Goalie Andre Blake notched his 8th shutout of the season.
  • Team Captain Alejandro Bedoya was honored before the game for making his 200th start with the club. 
  • The Union finished their MLS Regular Season slate at Subaru Park with a record of 10-1-6 including four scoreless draws. 
  • The Union now head into the international break and return to action on MLS Decision Day Saturday October 21 at 6pm on the road at Gilette Stadium in Foxboro, MA against the New England Revolution. All MLS matches are streamed on Apple TV+.

JD Walker is one of the co-founders of Stream Punk Entertainment and has covered the Philadelphia Union since 2022. He has a wide-spanning career with experience in a variety of roles inside and outside the world of sports including basketball operations, gameday entertainment, promotions, broadcasting, and finance. He’s a Jersey Shore native sprung from a cage on Highway 9, and loves to geek out on the business and legal side of the games we all love.

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