The Philadelphia Union crushed NYCFC 2-0 behind goals from Cory Burke and Ilsinho Saturday night at Talen Energy Stadium as they solidify themselves as a legitimate MLS playoff team in 2018.
In what was by all accounts a very tumultuous start, Philadelphia eventually weathered the opening storm handed to them by NYCFC. The ball zipped across the pitch to start the match and at times it seemed as if the early barrage of pressure would crack the Union’s back.
But it didn’t. A few truly dangerous opportunities almost jarred Philadelphia’s young center back duo but both Auston Trusty and Jack Elliot handled the close calls.
After the first 10 minutes of play, Philadelphia calmed both themselves and the visiting supporters’ section as their voices slowly faded into the background.
Philadelphia then settled into the match, stringing together some meaningful spurts of possession while mitigating any counter attacking chances NYCFC tried to muster. The aerial ball over the top was attempted on multiple occasions throughout the early stages but Philadelphia’s backline, especially Auston Trusty and Jack Elliot were up to the task.
In fact, Philadelphia’s backline remained tight and compact enough to force three offsides calls against NYCFC within the first 25 minutes of play. In addition to the stout defending, the offense provided chances as well in the form of corner kicks. Four corner kick opportunities were created by Philadelphia within the first 30 minutes, as Jim Curtin’s squad notified NYCFC that they were in for a battle.
NYCFC would eventually miss out on two golden opportunities for a goal which were sullied by Andre Blake. Philadelphia never registered a true chance on goal despite creating some intriguing sequences.
Philadelphia came out of the locker room firing on all cylinders to start the second half. David Accam rifled a shot that nearly rang home but was denied by Johnson and sent out for a corner in the 46th minute of play.
Five minutes later, CJ Sapong sent a wide-open look at goal over the bar after Borek Dockal shook off Alexander Callens before dishing the centering pass. Sapong and his teammates displayed a look of shock as the ball sailed into the River End.
Less than ten minutes after the missed opportunity, Philadelphia would convert. This time, the Jamaican striker Cory Burke utilized some beautiful technical skill to notch his sixth goal of the year. Burke, making his sixth start of 2018, peeled off the center back Callens as Dockal moved toward the goal box. Simultaneously, Alejandro Bedoya sprinted forward to create space for Burke. Burke took one touch and hit it home past the outstretched Johnson. Philadelphia fans rejoiced as the Union snagged the first goal.
Just seconds before Burke tallied his goal, NYCFC subbed off David Villa, their main goal scoring option. Jesus Medina replaced Villa but never made any impacts in the match’s final 30 minutes.
Ilsinho replaced Accam in the 67th minute for Philadelphia and the Brazilian stole the show. To put it simply, the former street baller did Ilsinho things. And it was filthy. Very, very filthy.
During the 76th minute, Ilsinho positioned himself along the right-wing where he fielded a pass from Dockal. He then collected the ball and ran directly at both Ebenezer Ofori and Ronal Matarrita. He split the both of them leaving Matarrita stumbling to the ground. Ben Sweat tried to assist his fallen teammate but he was left just as silly as Ilsinho danced by him before releasing a right footed shot for the second goal.
Matarrita didn’t handle the embarrassment all that well as he was singled out by Ilsinho a few more times before all was said and done.
In the 95th minute, after some pushing and shoving already occurred a few minutes prior, Ilsinho took Matarrita 1v1 once more. This time Matarrita violently cleaned Ilsniho out and a mini scuffle broke out. Matarrita was shown a red card and was serenaded off the field with a chorus of boos.
Philadelphia would finish out the match with a 2-0 lead, thus securing their biggest victory of the 2018 season.
Borek Dockal – Philadelphia’s #10 does it again with another two-assist performance tonight. His veteran presence has been felt in nearly every match as he continually pops up in fortuitous spaces on the pitch. His vision is second to none. He is quickly becoming one of the best Union midfielders to wear the blue and gold. With 12 assists in 2018 so far, he needs just four more to break Christian Maidana’s club record of 15 in one season.
Ilsinho & Cory Burke – Ilsinho’s goals was dirtier but Burke’s goal was classier. Whichever your preference, Philadelphia had a goal for you tonight. Ilsinho should be fined for embarrassing Ronald Matarrita to the point of ejection. Burke took his chance with the utmost confidence firing his shot after just one touch. It’s what you want to see from your club’s striker.
Ray Gaddis – The ultimate professional, Ray Gaddis put in another 90+ minutes of solid work. He earned his 154th career start, just three away from the 157 mark which would break Brian Carroll’s all-time club record. He played a clean game and put NYCFC on notice early on after forcing a yellow card in the 32nd minute.
PHILADELPHIA UNION STARTING XI:
Andre Blake, Ray Gaddis, Auston Trusty, Jack Elliot, Keegan Rosenberry, Haris Medunjanin, Alejandro Bedoya, Borek Dockal (88’ Warren Creavalle), CJ Sapong, David Accam (67’ Ilsinho), Cory Burke
Substitutes: John McCarthy, Richie Marquez, Fabinho, Marcus Epps, Derrick Jones
NEW YORK CITY FC STARTING XI:
Sean Johnson, Ben Sweat, Alexander Callens (65’ Ronald Matarrita), Maxime Chanot, Anton Tinnerholm, Ebenezer Ofori, Alexander Ring, Maximiliano Moralez, Ismael Tajouri-Shradi (82’ Rodney Wallace), Jo Inge Berget, David Villa (56’ Jesus Medina)
Substitutes: Brad Stuver, Thomas McNamara, Sebastien Ibeagha, Eloi Amagat
GOALS / ASSISTS
57’ PHI – Cory Burke (Borek Dockal)
76’ PHI – Ilsinho (Borek Dockal)
YELLOW / RED CARDS
32’ NYCFC – Anton Tinnerholm (Unsporting Behavior)
90’ PHI – Warren Creavalle (Unsporting Behavior)
90+5’ NYCFC – Ronald Matarrita (Serious Foul)
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Peace out Union fans!
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline.
Graduate of Pennsylvania State University ’16. Interests include sports and history. Follow on twitter for Philly sports news – @MMcClain_PSN
Philadelphia Union writer.