After a long absence, Cory Burke finally returned to Philadelphia — and now he has returned to the scoresheet. Burke’s second half header put the Union ahead for good against a ten-man Chicago side on Wednesday night at Subaru Park.
Jim Curtin chose to start Jack Elliott in midfield and moved Brenden Aaronson to the edge of the diamond midfield with Jamiro Monteiro suspended for yellow card accumulation.
The visitors controlled the ball for larger portions of the opening exchanges but the Union prevented any clean looks from inside the box. Philly finally grew into the game in the 19th minute with Anthony Fontana recovering the ball in the center and springing Bedoya for a long sprint down the pitch. The captain found Kacper Przybylko and the striker almost connected with him again in the box.
Next, Przybylko found Sergio Santos at the top of the box and the Brazilian wiggled his hips to create space but couldn’t find a lane to goal.
Santos got involved again in the 24th and helped create the opening goal of the match. Ray Gaddis overlapped on the right and drilled a low cross into the area that deflected off Francisco Calvo’s hand as Santos pressured him from behind. Przybylko stepped to the spot and went left to score the 500th goal in Union regular season history.
In the 36th minute, Calvo was dismissed for a foul from behind on Bedoya. After Philly’s captain dispossessed the ball, Calvo scraped down his heel with his cleats and was promptly sent off.
Minutes later, though, Djordje Mihailovic scooped a ball off the endline and back to Robert Beric who headed into the tying goal.
Even with a man advantage, the Union had to work hard to respond. They began controlling play but failed to build any momentum or opportunities.
Then Burke entered. With Olivier Mbaizo eyeing the center of the box, Burke drifted back post and his fullback picked him out with a wonderful curling cross that the Jamaican powered into the net with perfect form.
Burke nearly collected another just minutes later when good buildup play between Bedoya and Ilsinho found him sitting on a bouncing ball near the six-yard box. The big striker lifted a long leg into the air to control the ball but couldn’t find the power to get it past Bobby Shuttleworth.
The only downside of the night was a pair of injuries to star defensive pair Ray Gaddis and Andre Blake. Gaddis left at halftime with an undisclosed injury and Blake picked up a hand injury late in the match, leaving Joe Bendik to step in. Bendik had work to do, and after he punched a ball to the top of the box, Andrew Wooten slid in to clear off the goalline.
With 44 points, the Union now sit atop the Eastern Conference and MLS standings with two games left to play.
Philly’s final road match comes on November 1st when they travel to Columbus to face off with the Crew at 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC.