A simple formula has developed over Cory Burke’s first season in Major League Soccer. When he starts, he scores.
His brace in Wednesday night’s Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup semifinal brought his season total in games he’s started in all competitions to 10 in nine games. That includes the two goals he has in two starts with Bethlehem Steel FC, three goals in three Open Cup starts and five goals in four MLS starts. He has yet to score as a substitute this season.
“Well you know, it’s my job to score goals,” he said after Wednesday night’s game. “So whenever I get the chance to start or play, I always want to score goals because that’s what’s going to keep me on the pitch.”
Captain Alejandro Bedoya was credited with assists on both of Burke’s goals Wednesday.
“I’m happy for a guy like Cory who maybe didn’t start the whole season but now he’s getting in and like always he’s getting stuff done, he’s putting the ball into the back of the net,” Bedoya said after the match.
By contrast, CJ Sapong has scored just three times in 18 starts, scoring for the first time this season as a substitute on Wednesday night to pad the Union’s lead.
The Union have a quick turnaround to return to league play at New England Revolution tonight so it remains to be seen what head coach Jim Curtin decides in terms of who to start. But it’s hard to argue that the 6-foot-4 Jamaica international — who spent his first two seasons on a USL contract with Steel — hasn’t proven his worth in the starting lineup.
Looking at stats for both MLS and the U.S. Open Cup, Burke leads the team with eight goals in 851 minutes while Sapong has just four goals in 1,555 minutes.
Perhaps getting both on the field at the same time is the more optimal situation?
Pushed out wide to the right with Burke up top after coming on as a sub for David Accam in the 55th minute, Sapong ended up delivering the secondary assist on Burke’s second goal.