The Philadelphia Union eliminated Nashville SC to qualify for the Eastern Conference finals. The game defaulted to penalties after the score remained 1-1 after 120+ minutes of play, where the Union outscored Nashville 2-0. Goalkeeper Andre Blake became the night’s unsung hero after saving two penalties from the visiting side to earn the advantage.
Nashville unfortunately saw their playoff dreams come to a disastrous end after scoring zero penalty kicks.
The game kicked off slowly as both sides took time to settle into their formations. It was only until Nashville pushed players forward that the tempo began to pick up. The visitors enjoyed the majority of possession with the Philadelphia Union lagging behind, chasing Nashville SC players for a chance on the ball.
Forward Hany Mukhtar knocked on the Union’s door a couple of times before finally sealing the deal in the 38th minute to continue his mvp-calibre season and score his third MLS postseason goal. Right back Eric Miller made the initial run, reaching the edge of the box before perfectly centering the ball for Mukhtar to pick up the header and earn the 1-0 lead.
The celebrations didn’t last long after the Philadelphia Union found the equalizer 10 minutes later off of a sneaky finish from Daniel Gazdag. The midfielder took advantage of a goalkeeping error from Joe Willis, finding the rebound off a poorly cleared shot to manage a second strike and creep the ball into the net.
The second half saw Philadelphia Union take control of the match, pouncing on the attack and benefiting from Nashville’s defensive errors. The hosts had several opportunities to take the lead but fumbled on the finish.
Despite the Union’s best efforts, the game headed into overtime after a 1-1 scoreline after 90 minutes. The hosts had several opportunities to find the lead, but like during regular time, players struggled to get the perfect finish.
For the second time during the 2021 MLS postseason, the regular-time tie led to penalties.
Nashville stepped up first but squandered the chance as Hany Muktar shot the ball directly into Andre Blake’s hands. The Philadelphia Union earned the immediate advantage after Jack Elliot scored the first.
Nashville player Anibal Godoy attempted the team’s second, only for Blake to reach over and make yet another save. Sérgio Santos missed his shot for the Union to give the visitors a chance before they ruined it.
The pressure got to Nashville as Alex Muyl and Walker Zimmerman both missed their penalty attempts.
Jack McGlynn became a hero, scoring the Union’s second to earn the lead and qualify for the Eastern Conference final.
Philadelphia Union player ratings
1. Goalkeeper & defenders
Andre Blake (GK) - 8/10 - Instant hero after saving Nashville's first two penalty kicks
Alvas Powell (RB) - 5/10 - Provided the stability needed but nothing rather special
Jakob Glesnes (CB) - 5/10 - Could have been more creative on the ball, but gave the needed coverage
Jack Elliot (CB) - 5/10 - Didn't do much during the game, but scored his penalty kick
Kai Wagner (LB) - 5/10 - Got more involved in the attack as the game progressed.
2. Wing-backs & midfielders
Daniel Gazdag (RW) - 7/10 - Missed a clear opportunity, but also scored the equalizer
Alejandro Bedoya (CM) - 7/10 - If he had been more precise on the front foot, the game would not have gone into overtime
Jose Martinez (CM) - 4/10 - Could have done more, but fine.
Leon Flach (CM) - 5/10 - Expected so much more from the talented youngster
Jamiro Monteiro (LW) - 2/10 - Literally did not see him do a thing.
Kacper Przybyłko (F) - 4/10 - As the lone forward, the Polish striker should have been chasing opportunities instead of dragging behind
Sergio Santos - 5/10- A breath of fresh air for a much needed Union
Nathan Harriel - 3/10 - Had the opportunity to make a difference and squandered the chance
Jack McGlynn - 7/10 - Scored the second penalty to earn the lead
Cory Burke - 3/10 - Unperceived, but also didn't negatively impact the game
Nashville SC player ratings
5. Goalkeeper & defenders
Joe Willis (GK) - 3/10 - Made several errors, but one that cost Philadelphia to earn the equalizer.
Eric Miller (RB) - 7/10 - Stable on the defense, but became a standout with his assist to Hany Mukhtar.
Alistair Johnson (CB) - 3/10 - Too many defensive errors.
Walker Zimmerman (CB) - 3/10 - Crumbled under pressure in the defense and missed his penalty kick.
Jack Maher (CB) - 2/10 - Went completely undetected.
Daniel Lovitz (LB) - 4/10 - Could have been so much better defensively
6. Wing-backs & midfielder
Randall Leal (CM) - 4/10 - Let his frustration get to him by the end, causing unnecessary free kicks.
Dax McCarty (CM) - 7/10 - Too many defensive errors that allowed Philadelphia to thrive on the attack.
Aníbal Godoy (CM) - 4/10 - Fine, but missed his penalty kick.
Hany Mukhtar (CF) - 5/10- Scored the opening goal, but also missed his penalty kick.
C. J. Sapong (CF) - 3/10 - Really left it u pto Mukhtar to carry the attack.
Jalil Anibaba - 2/10- Did absolutely nothing.
Brian Anunga - 4/10 - Went undetected, but no one expected him to shine at that point.
Alex Muyl - 0/10 - Literally given the chance to make a difference, missed a penalty kick ins