Cory Burke netted his seventh goal of the season as Philadelphia Union toppled New England Revolution for the third time this season with a 1-0 win. The win now puts Philadelphia seven points clear of the playoff line as they complete the season series sweep vs New England. Philadelphia have lost just once in August and have now strung four straight wins together.
A disputed goal in the 56th minute from Philadelphia’s Cory Burke which New England thought to be offside proved to be all the Union would need to find victory.
But before the goal, the two sides competed heartily throughout the opening stages of the match. New England’s strategy revolved around granting time and space to both Union center backs Auston Trusty and Jack Elliot. Several times throughout the first half, Philadelphia head coach Jim Curtin could be seen waving both center backs forward whenever they had the ball.
Through the first 15 minutes, Philadelphia saw the majority of possession but their passing lacked urgency. After 30 minutes of play however, Philadelphia managed to increase their build up play with a few threatening sequences of play.
New England, on the other hand, never really showed any signs of offensive promise. Their leading goal scorer, Teal Bunbury and his 11 goals, stayed back in New England due to a minor injury. Bunbury’s absence was surely felt as the Revolution struggled to maneuver in the final third.
Philadelphia also had their struggles in the final third. Multiple sequences ended with nothing to show for it as the final ball was lacking.
At the half, Philadelphia tallied 234 completed passes with well over 70% accuracy. The time and space granted to them by the New England side was not wasted. However, there was too much sloppy play with forced passes and turnovers were the result. After a few tactical changes at half, Philadelphia would delight their fans in the second.
The tactical changes revolved around pressing New England a bit more while also having outside back Keegan Rosenberry flood the right side of the pitch.
Rosenberry’s aggressive offensive nature proved effective almost immediately in the second half. First in the 50th minute when Haris Medunjanin chipped a beautiful pass up and over New England’s backline for Rosenberry who was just inside the right side of the box. Off the volley, Rosenberry fired a right footed shot which Matt Turner, the Revolution’s standout keeper, managed to save with quick reactions.
Two minutes later, Fafa Picault created a scoring chance after Trusty sent a long aerial ball up the left-wing. Picault beat defender Andrew Farrell to the ball before saving it near the corner flag. He then picked his head up and sent a cross into the box where Burke managed to get a head on it but his headed attempt rolled wide right.
One minute later, in the 53rd, Philadelphia found the important first and only goal of the match. Medunjanin displayed his passing abilities once more and sent a perfectly weighted through ball forward for Burke. Burke did well to stay in an onside position before running onto the ball. However, New England assumed he was offside after seeing the assistant ref wave his flag. Head ref Drew Fischer did not blow his whistle and instead allowed the play to continue. Burke tip-toed around Turner and finished with a right footed shot. He then celebrated while the rest of the players remained confused.
Fischer then ran over to the replay screen. After reviewing the play, Fischer discerned that Burke was indeed onside and counted the goal. Philadelphia fans rejoiced as their team took the 1-0 lead.
New England wouldn’t go down easily however. In the 66th minute, a Revolution corner kick almost created a goal. Diego Fagundez sent a dangerous ball into the box in which Brandon Bye got a header on. Bye’s headed attempted was destined for the back of the net but Medunjanin was standing on the goal line and cleared it away.
After a 68th minute substitution from Philadelphia which sent the Brazilian Ilsinho on for CJ Sapong, New England would create another dangerous chance of their own.
in the 69th minute, Christian Penilla entered the left side of the box and created some space for himself. He took a touch around Rosenberry before releasing a shot. Andre Blake was up to the task however. He quickly went to ground and got his right hand on the shot to deflect it wide.
A New England sub in the 71st minute sent Brian Wright on for Cristhian Machado. Wright wouldn’t really impact the match. New England continued to press in search of an equalizer. One of New England’s best chances occurred in the 79th minute when Juan Agudelo sent a headed attempt on frame thanks to a dangerous cross from Farrell. His headed attempt was saved though.
Philadelphia would eventually hold on for yet another crucial late season victory. The win completed the season sweep of New England as Philadelphia beat them for the third and final time this year. With the win, Philadelphia sits in a great spot in the table. They are now seven points clear of the playoff line as they head to D.C. United next Wednesday.
– Ray Gaddis: With another quality performance, Ray Gaddis broke the all-time mark for minutes played in a Union uniform in the 85th minute tonight. Gaddis, who joined the club seven years ago, has been the ultimate professional both on the field and inside the locker room for Jim Curtin’s squad. Tonight, Gaddis did well to handle threats along the left side of the pitch while remaining active in attacking play.
– Haris Medunjanin: Medunjanin was very effective tonight in both defending and also in possession. Both he and Alejandro Bedoya manage games with ease as they continue to control the ball well throughout the center of the pitch. Medunjanin picked up his fourth assist on the year after a beautiful through ball that sent Cory Burke in behind.
– Cory Burke – The Jamaican continues to make impacts on every game he starts. He earned his seventh start tonight and netted his seventh goal. He remains to be the main goal scoring option for Curtin’s club as the playoffs quickly approach. The Union are 7-0-0 when Burke starts up top. Perhaps Burke will now be seen for what he is, a legitimate striker in this league.
PHILADELPHIA UNION STARTING XI
Andre Blake, Ray Gaddis, Auston Trusty, Jack Elliot, Keegan Rosenberry, Alejandro Bedoya (90+5’ Warren Creavalle), Haris Medunjanin, Borek Dockal (82’ Derrick Jones), Fafa Picault, Cory Burke, CJ Sapong (68’ Ilsinho)
Substitutes: John McCarthy, Mark McKenzie, Fabinho, David Accam
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION STARTING XI
Matt Turner, Andrew Farrell, Jalil Anibaba, Cristhian Machado (71’ Brian Wright), Diego Fagundez, Brandon Bye, Juan Agudelo, Wilfried Zahibo (89’ Zachary Herivaux), Luis Caicedo, Michael Mancienne, Christina Penilla
Substitutes: Brad Knighton, Isaac Angking, Antonio Mlinar Delamea, Femi Hollinger-Janzen, Kelyn Rowe
GOALS / ASSISTS
53’ PHI – Cory Burke (Haris Medunjanin)
YELLOW / RED CARDS
56’ PHI – Cory Burke (delaying the restart of play)
78’ PHI – Michael Mancienne (unsporting behavior)
90+4’ NE – Diego Fagundez (unsporting behavior)
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Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports.