Lost in the goal frenzy that was Saturday night’s 6-1 stomping of New England was the opening goal of the match. More so the celebration after Union defender Jack Elliott collected a pass from Haris Medunjanin and scored in the 11th minute.
As the crowd erupted on Elliott’s third career goal in six starts against the Revs, there was something else planned unbeknownst to the 23-year-old.
“Obviously they didn’t expect me to score so I didn’t know anything about it,” Elliott said following the match.
The planned celebration was for teammate Cory Burke who last week was announced would miss a significant part of the season due to visa issues. While he isn’t part of the team, his fellow teammates wanted to send a message that the Jamaican is still the Union. With the opening goal in the back of the net, Elliott was given a hug from Kacper Przybylko and let in on the Burke jersey on the team’s bench.
“Kacper shepherded me because he might have been [best] odds to score,” Elliott said. “We stand behind Cory and hopefully he’ll be back soon.”
When asked in his postgame press conference about the Burke celebration Union head coach Jim Curtin gave little bit of the backstory on what prompted the move.
“Cory sent a pretty heartfelt message to the group on our group app that we have and share. I think it hit with a lot of guys, you could tell by a lot of their responses. He’s with us in a way, he wants to be here and you can still feel it. The guys all feel his absence and they wanted to do something special for him. I think you saw that with the tribute when we scored.”
As the Eastern Conference leading Union now recover from picking up seven points in eight days, Curtin and his team know that they have to enjoy every moment together because nothing can be taken for granted.
“Life is highs and lows. He’s a great kid and we want him back as soon as possible. He is a great striker for us and I think the guys rallied around that.”
The Union return to action Saturday against Toronto FC on Saturday, May 11. Kick off from BMO Field is set for 3 p.m. and will be televised on PHL17.