After two seasons almost entirely wiped away by visa troubles, Philadelphia Union forward Cory Burke came into 2021 aiming to play his first full season for the team since his 10-goal debut season in MLS in 2018.
Injuries and international call-ups put a damper on that plan this time around, limiting the Jamaica international to 10 starts and 19 appearances in league play and a total of 1,175 minutes in all competitions for the Union.
His impact was definitely felt when he wasn’t available and the striker corps was depleted — Sergio Santos also missed a number of games — but he was also able to make a noticeable impact when he was on the field, especially against one of his favorite opponents: the Chicago Fire.
The recently turned 30-year-old striker scored a pair of game-winners in wins over Chicago Fire (2-0) and the New York Red Bulls (1-0) and his other two goals both came in draws (3-3 to Chicago and Atlanta (2-2). His two assists came in wins over the Portland Timbers (3-0) and Orlando City (3-1). The Union earned 14 points in the standings in games Burke recorded a goal or assist.
He earned eight international caps through the season, logging 472 minutes for the Reggae Boyz in Gold Cup and World Cup Qualifying. He had a goal in the Gold Cup in a 2-1 win over Guadeloupe in Orlando.
He missed six games with the Union while away on international duty, two CCL games and after missing the season opener missed eight straight games with an injury prior to the last two games of the season.
Burke is under contract through 2022 with a club option for 2023.
Since joining the Bethlehem Steel on loan in 2016, Burke has 37 goals and 13 assists in 123 appearances total (all competitions) for the first and second team.
2021 Season Awards
Brotherly Game Community Player of the Game: New York Red Bulls, May 15; Chicago Fire, June 26