Cory Burke scored his second goal in his second MLS start and drew a penalty to lead the Philadelphia Union to a 3-1 win over the Chicago Fire on a night head coach Jim Curtin called the team’s worst performance at home this season.
Like his first goal in Montreal on May 12, Burke’s goal came off a well-timed run and header on a ball served up perfectly by Borek Dockal in the 51st minute. The Czech Republic international converted a penalty drawn by Burke to put the game away in the 87th minute after recording assists on both of the first two goals.
Coming off a disappointing scoreless draw in a game they outplayed the New York Red Bulls, the Union came close to opening the scoring on a couple chances off set pieces in the first half hour.
The first came in the 19th minute off the left foot of Haris Medunjanin, who set up Alejandro Bedoya for a glancing beader that hit the post. Eleven minutes later, Dockal connected with Mark McKenzie off a corner kick that the rookie center back headed on frame but had denied by a nice save from Fire keeper Patrick McClain.
With time running out in the first half, it looked like the Union might be falling into a familiar pattern of creating the bulk of the chances only to not find a breakthrough. But a lovely piece of skill from Ilsinho, who cut through a pair of Fire defenders in the box and rocketed a shot into the back of the net changed all of that to put the blue and gold up 1-0 going into the break.
“Ilsinho obviously makes a very special play,” Curtin said. “Goals change games and now Chicago had to change formations at halftime and we’re able to get a little better rhythm.”
Ilsinho’s goal gave the Union a burst of confidence coming out of the locker room that eventually led to the second goal on an attack started by a threaded ball from Ray Gaddis that played Dockal past a Chicafo defender and into space, where he was able to pick his head up and pick out Burke with a cross Burke headed into the back of the net.
“It should have been a comfortable game after we get the second goal,” Curtin said. “We made it interesting on ourselves, got a little casual and tuned out a little bit and got punished for it.”
Veteran Alan Gordon pulled a goal back for the Fire in the 51st with the 58th goal of his career to create a few nervy moments. Head coach Jim Curtin was forced to use his first sub when Mark McKenzie went down with an injury to his right leg in the 61st minute. Rather than pack it in with defensive reinforcement, Curtin used his last two subs for offensive changes, bringing in Marcus Epps for Ilsinho and CJ Sapong for David Accam, who made his first start in four games for Fafa Picault, who was a late scratch from the 18 because of an illness.
The win extended the Union’s unbeaten streak to four games (three wins in four games). They’ve outscored opponents 9-2 over that span.
“I said a couple weeks ago that with better results you have confidence to keep winning games,” Dockal said after the match. “We are actually playing the same as we did at the beginning of the season but now we have better confidence and we are able to win games.”