One time it took me 12 minutes to figure out how to post an Instagram Story of my dog with the caption: “I AM VIRGIL VAN DOGK”.
In that same period of time, Ilsinho turned around a game against a team that had won six of its last eight and spent the first half asserting themselves on the road.
There was only one option for MLS Player of the Week after the Brazilian’s exploits. Rarely does a substitute change a game so drastically and so quickly.
After the match, Red Bulls coach Chris Armas said, “We talked about them bringing on Ilsinho, the task that that would be.”
One wonders what that discussion was like, because how do you prepare for an unstoppable force of nature?
Ilsinho gave the Union width and, more importantly, confidence. And they grasped both as the crowd roared them on.
After the game, the entire team cheered as the Brazilian entered the locker room, breaking out in joyous versions of his latest signature celebration.
It was the best substitute performance in Union history and it came against a rival in a game when the Union were looking to prove themselves.
Now there is no doubt that, top to bottom, the Union are one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. They have firepower off the bench that few opponents can match, and they have depth in the form of homegrowns like Brenden Aaronson and Mark McKenzie.
Still, they only have one Ilsinho. After the Seattle match, Stefan Frei asked for verification of Ilsinho’s age. Chris Armas admitted it’s nearly impossible to prepare for the Brazilian. Jim Curtin said his #CheatCode has become such a weapon that he has to consider moving him to the starting eleven even though he has thrived off the bench.
But perhaps the clearest indications of how Ilsinho’s performance was both epic and, for him, quite ordinary, were the reactions of current and former teammates.