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Cory Burke, Ilsinho carry Philadelphia Union past New York City FC

Aug 18, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; A general view of Talen Energy Stadium before match between Philadelphia Union and New York City. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

CHESTER, Pa. — The Philadelphia Union answered their biggest test of the 2018 season to date by dispatching New York City FC, 2-0, at Talen Energy Stadium Saturday night. 

Cory Burke and Ilsinho produced a goal each to keep the Union (10-11-3) in fifth place in the Eastern Conference.

The win was the Union’s first over a team above sixth place in either conference, and it was their third in four league matches.

“We knew that this game would be against the strongest opponent we played in quite some time,” Union coach Jim Curtin said. “It would be a real challenge for us to raise our intensity, raise our focus, our discipline, our pressing. I thought that the guys executed exactly what we asked of them.” 

The first half was chock full of missed opportunities for the home side, a trend that’s reared its head too many times in franchise history. 

But before the Union got into a rhythm, NYCFC (14-6-5) created the first significant chance of the contest, as Maxi Moralez broke through the middle of the field and forced a save out of Andre Blake. 

C.J. Sapong and David Accam achieved a decent amount of success down the wings for the Union, but the pair along with Burke were unable to beat Sean Johnson. 

Minutes after Sapong missed a sitter at the start of the second half, Burke handed the Union a needed one-goal advantage in the 57th minute. 

Alejandro Bedoya picked up the ball in his own half and fed Borek Dockal, who found Burke on the left side of the box for the forward’s sixth league goal of the season. 

“First I thought I could play off the second touch behind the back four, but Cory needed more time to pick up the space and then Ale made a great run actually,” Dockal said. “(Bedoya) opened the whole situation. He confused the center backs and he opened the space for Cory and then Cory finished it well. It was important to score the first goal. After that, the game was more open for us.” 

The assist was the fifth in five games for Dockal, who moved into a tie for third in MLS in assists with his 11th of the campaign.  

Second-half substitute Ilsinho handed the Union a two-goal lead in the 77th minute with a remarkable piece of individual skill on the right side of the box in which he skirted around defenders and coolly finished into the left side of the net. 

The Union face another vital clash in a week’s time at home against New England, who they beat a week ago at Gillette Stadium. while NYCFC must rebound in a quick manner for Wednesday’s home rivalry clash with the New York Red Bulls. 

“We have some momentum now,” Curtin said. “We still haven’t accomplished anything yet. We’re starting to set ourselves up in a good spot. We’ve preached how we control our own destiny and you never want that to slip up in this league because it can change fast.”

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