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U in Review — Philadelphia Union vs. NYCFC


In a match between third and fifth, it was the latter that came out victorious, with the Philadelphia Union defeating the visiting New York City Football Club, 2-0, on Saturday night. 

Cory Burke and the Philadelphia Union continued their recent run of good form, with the Jamaican slotting home his sixth goal of the regular season in the 57th minute, a goal that fired the home side ahead in the match and served as the eventual winner.

It was a goal that was the direct result of both the high-defensive work rate of the Union midfield, namely that of captain Alejandro Bedoya, who dictated the middle of the park all night long, and also a willingness to play positive football.

Piggybacking off an interception from Bedoya near the center circle, Union playmaker Borek Dockal picked his head up and played a well-timed through ball into the path of Burke. Burke did well to turn the ball onto his favored right foot and calmly slot a low shot past an outstretched Sean Johnson.

Philadelphia put the game to bed in the 76th minute, when second-half substitute Ilsinho scored his fifth goal of the campaign that began with another Dockal pass and delivered the Union (10W, 11L, 3D) their second consecutive league victory.

It was another eye-catching goal from the Brazilian, who returned from injury on Saturday night and came on for fellow winger David Accam midway through the second half.

Ilsinho (rightfully) received the plaudits for his individual goal, but it is worth noting that, like Burke’s goal before his, a 1v1 opportunity was made possible by a heads-up, forward-thinking pass from Dockal, who notched his fifth assist in as many games.

City (14W, 6L, 5D) had their share of opportunities to go ahead earlier in the match. Philly’s backline pressed early, often and high up the pitch, which New York nearly capitalized on inside the second minute of the contest.

Auston Trusty was the player who initially misread the play leading to the eventual chance for NYCFC. Throughout the night, Trusty and his defensive partner, Jack Elliott, played on the back of New York’s forwards, David Villa and Jo Inge Berget.

Doing so nearly cost the Union, but Trusty did well to close down Villa, who managed to pick out Maxi Moralez. His shot was parried out of play by Andre Blake, who kept the game scoreless with a crucial save and several others throughout the night.

Overall, it was arguably one of Philadelphia’s most complete performances to show for this season. Speaking to media following the game, Union coach Jim Curtin praised the performance of his team.

“We challenged the group to raise their level,” Curtin began. “It was a complete team effort.”

Philadelphia, with the result, retains hold of fifth in the Eastern Conference, with a pivotal home match upcoming against the New England Revolution. Just four points separate the two clubs, and next Saturday’s game will offer a potential six-point swing for either side.


Philadelphia Union

Cory Burke (57′)

Ilsinho (76′)

New York City Football Club 



Philadelphia Union

Warren Creavalle (Caution)

New York City Football Club 

Anton Tinnerholm (Caution), Ronald Matarrita (Red)


Philadelphia Union 

13 Total; 6 On

New York City Football Club 

9 Total; 3 On


Philadelphia Union


New York City Football Club 


Starting XI

Philadelphia Union (4-3-3-)

Andre Blake; Ray Gaddis, Auston Trusty, Jack Elliott, Keegan Rosenberry; Alejandro Bedoya, Borek Dockal (Warren Creavalle, 87′), Haris Medunjanin; David Accam (Ilsinho, 67′), Cory Burke, C.J. Sapong

New York City Football Club (4-3-3)

Sean Johnson; Ben Sweat, Alexander Callens (Ronald Matarrita, 65′), Maxime Chanot, Anton Tinnerholm; Ebenezer Ofori, Alexander Ring, Maximiliano Moralez; Ismael Tajouri-Shradi (Rodney Wallace, 82′), David Villa (Jesús Medina, 56′), Jo Inge Berget

PFD’s Player of the Game

Jason Hannigan

It’s two more assists for the Union’s No. 10. Dockal always has his head up, picking out runners and seams that haven’t been exploited since the days of Vincent Nogueira and Tranquillo Barnetta. 

Borek Dockal. My pick for PFD’s Player of the Game.

Next Match

Philadelphia will host a crucial match next Saturday, with the Union playing the New England Revolution for the second time in two weeks. First kick is set for 7:00 P.M. ET and will be broadcasted on PHL17.