Cory Burke had played 287 minutes without a goal in 2019. He was coming off the bench 11 minutes into the second half of a match in which Philly was the better side but continually unable to breakthrough a stout FC Dallas defense.
One way or another, Burke was going to haul his team back into the match.
"I had the mindset of whenever I get called onto the field to help my team get into the game and get off the mark with goals," the Jamaican striker said this week. "I just want to build off of this one and set the bar high for goals this year."
Burke's goal was the result of extremely hard work not once, but twice in quick succession. First, he tracked a hanging ball after Jimmy Maurer popped Jamiro Monteiro's dipping shot into the air. Burke camped out near the goal line as the ball fell, and with Maurer flailing and Matt Hedges hanging all over his back, the big attacker did his best to stand his ground.
In the end, though, he crashed to the turf with Hedges lying atop him.
"Yeah, the man was trying to push me away so I couldn't score a goal," Burke recalled lightly. The penalty call was an easy one to make, but then Burke had to be ready to follow it up when Marco Fabian's spot kick was saved.
"You score a goal and you're going to be more confident every time you get the ball and think you can score again," Burke stated. "A happy feeling for me! Get off the mark, a first goal for the season."
Now Burke and the Union need to turn that hard work into three more points on the road against Los Angeles Galaxy this weekend. Led by legendary striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the Galaxy are undefeated at home in 2019.
"We have to stick together, focus, and work hard as a team to try and get the W there and bring it back here," Burke said. Teamwork, hard work. All work. That's how Cory Burke rose from Bethlehem Steel to opening day starter in Major League Soccer.
And now he's ready to face off with Ibra and the Galaxy and help Philly to a four-game winning streak.
That match happens at 10:30 p.m. ET this Saturday -- April 13 -- on PHL17.