Union’s Cory Burke is a man possessed

Over the span of the 2022 MLS season, the Union has utilized the tenacity and grit of striker Cory Burke. Whether it was from the start or as a substitute the role Burke plays for Philly is one that has non-stop energy. His role later on in the 2022 season was that of a super-sub and he’s started in the role as Curtin’s trusted gun off the bench.

CHICAGO, IL – JUNE 26: Philadelphia Union forward Cory Burke (19) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goalin game action during a game between the Chicago Fire and the Philadelphia Union on June 26, 2021 at Soldier Field in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire)

Burke has been the Union’s super-sub in 2022

At the beginning of the 2022 season, Philly leaned on Burke from the start of matches. He was always there, and while he didn’t always play the prettiest or best soccer, his determination was always evident. In the summer months, the Union traded Sergio Santos and moved Cory Burke to the super-sub role, and the Jamaican shined in the role.

We’ve seen Burke play a big role as a substitute before. Think back to the 2020 season, and who scored the Supporters’ Shield-clinching goal, news flash it was Burke. Fast-forward now to the end of 2022 and Burke has the chance to affect the game for about 30 minutes each time the Union steps on the field. His tenacity, grit, and persistence as a striker make him the perfect guy to bring into a match in the final half-hour.

Tenacity, grit, and persistence up top

Cory Burke is tenacious. He’ll hound the opposition’s back line when his team has the ball, and more importantly when they don’t have the ball. Burke is willing and able to press the opponent. In 2022 it has led to mistakes, and the Union has pounced on those mistakes en route to scoring 76 goals this season.

Burke is also a gritty player; he can grind out games for the Union. Whether the team is looking for a tying or winning goal, or up by multiple goals, Burke will come into the game and be able to show the grit needed to get the result that the team needs.

The persistence that Burke shows is something that is always hard for the opposition to overcome. Philly’s opponents know when Burke is on the field that he is going to work and work hard to make them uncomfortable. His role is well defined now for the Union; could we see him play this role out to perfection in a match that would see Philly become champions of MLS?

What role will Burke play in MLS Cup?

Burke came on in the eastern conference final with about 30 minutes to go. This has been Jim Curtin’s game plan for the majority of the 2022 season, and will it happen in the biggest match in Philadelphia Union history?

We’ll obviously not know until this coming Saturday, but this seems like a match where Burke will be very useful as a super-sub. LAFC has some question marks at the center back position. If they need to make an in-game change at that position, Burke could be instrumental in wreaking havoc on what could be a pieced-together backline!

Burke’s role will be defined, likely as a super-sub. Curtin said he was a man possessed when he came on in the eastern conference final. How amazing would it be if Burke played just like that in the MLS Cup final and scored the title-clinching goal for the Philadelphia Union?

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Mandatory Credit: Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire