Philadelphia Union striker Cory Burke dribbled hard into the 18-yard box, slammed on the brakes, cut sharply to his right, got half a step on New England Revolution goalie Matt Turner and snapped the ball into the net.
He then sprinted to the sideline, ripped off his jersey, slid on his knees, and celebrated his goal.
Unbeknownst to both players, the linesman had raised his flag to signal Burke was offside. Every other player on the field knew the play was dead and simply just watched Burke have his moment.
Thanks to the call being overturned on video review a minute later, his teammates joined in.
Burke was credited with his team-leading seventh goal in the 57th minute, which was just enough to catapult the Union to a critical 1-0 victory on Saturday night over the New England Revolution.
“You hear from the age of five, you play until the whistle,” Union coach Jim Curtain said. “He was the only one who kept going, I think, in the entire stadium. I was next to the linesman who was certain it was offside.
“I was almost embarrassed for Cory celebrating and taking his shirt off, going on his knees and looking up to the heavens. But it was a goal and a big goal that won us a game. It was a strange goal that decided the game – we’ll take it.”
Haris Medunjanin sprung Burke with a long pass over midfield. Burke took off, while the Revs defense stood still. The flag went up but Burke didn’t see it.
“I saw the ball played, and I thought to myself all I have to do is get the ball and try and score,” Burke said. “I made one look over at the linesman when the ball was played (and his flag was not up). The defender I saw wide kept me onside so I didn’t look wide again (for the linesman). So I went in to try and score.”
He did, and then commenced the solo post-goal dance.
“Yeah, I saw that, he doesn’t even know what was going on,” Union goalie Andre Blake said laughing. “At the end, it did work out. So, I am really happy for him.”
Cory Burke, doop doop doop doop doop, Cory Burke, doop doop doop doop doop, Cory Burke, doop doop doop doop doop, Cory Burke https://t.co/KTAEOF5VIy— Philadelphia Union (@PhilaUnion) August 26, 2018
Following the goal, the Union survived a couple of close calls as the Revs desperately tried to answer. Blake made two diving glove saves from in close to bat the ball out of bounds, and Medunjanin stopped a shot just in front of the goal line on a corner kick.
“I think the team did a great job and it was tough game,” said Blake, who had four saves. “I think overall we did well to stay in the game and I was happy to do whatever I could to get the three points.”
The Union improved to 11-11-3, and with the Montreal Impact’s loss moved into sole possession of fifth place with 36 points in the Eastern Conference. They trail fourth-place Columbus by four points and have a game in hand, and now own a seven-point lead over the seventh-place Revs. The top six teams in each conference qualify for the playoffs.
However, there are still nine regular season games left to play, including this Wednesday at D.C. United and next Saturday at Orlando City.
“I keep stressing that we haven’t really accomplished anything,” Curtain said. “DC is coming. Toronto is coming. It is not going to be easy.”
In the 85th minute, Raymon Gaddis became the Union all-time leader in minutes played, passing Brian Carroll. C.J. Sapong also became the eighth player in club history to reach the century mark in appearances.
“First and foremost, I thank the Lord for giving me ability. I thank the coaches for thinking of me to play all those minutes,” Gaddis said. “I want to thank all my teammates this season. This is a special group of guys.”