HIGHLIGHTS: Nashville SC vs. Philadelphia Union | July 03, 2021
Sapong calmly controlled and then tucked away an early cross from Randall Leal for the goal, which was enough to extend Nashville's home unbeaten start to eight matches.
Joe Willis needed only four saves to keep Nashville's fifth clean sheet of the season, and first since a 1-0 home win over Austin FC back on May 23. That ability to frustrate Philadelphia appeared due partly to a formation switch to a three-back or five-back system, depending on how you viewed it.
The victory moved Nashville all the way up to fourth in the Eastern Conference table, a point back of the third-place Union and one ahead of New York City FC.
Philadelphia were held scoreless for just the third time this season and the first since a 2-0 home loss to NYCFC in April, one the Union played the majority of with 10 men.
- 2' - NSH - CJ Sapong | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: Nashville may have been frustrated to post a record of 1W-0L-3D in a previous four-match homestand to start the season, but this current long run of games at Nissan may be perfectly timed. Manager Gary Smith's side have now won as many as they've drawn in the Music City, and with two more home games coming it's realistic they could climb as high as second in the East before hitting the road again.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: In a game contested at Nashville's preferred cagey tempo, this one was relatively easy to pick out: Sapong's opening goal, which was well set up and equally well taken.
GOAL: C.J. Sapong, Nashville SC - 2nd minute
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Randall Leal. Sapong was also very good, but when Nashville were threatening it was typically the Costa Rican winger at the heart of it. He led Nashville with three key passes, won 50% of his 12 duels contested and completed nearly 80% of his passes despite many of those being of the higher risk, higher reward variety.