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Cory Burke’s second-half strike powers Philadelphia Union past New England Revolution

Aug 25, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; A general view of Talen Energy Stadium before match between New England Revolution and Philadelphia Union. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

CHESTER, Pa. — Auston Trusty’s frustration could be heard from the top of Talen Energy Stadium near the end of the first half. 

The 20-year-old center back’s anger expressed the poor first half put in by the Philadelphia Union in a must-win game against the New England Revolution.

The Union team everyone expected to show up got off to a blistering start in the second half and never looked back in the 1-0 victory Saturday night. 

“I think we felt it at halftime, we weren’t happy,” Union coach Jim Curtin said. “Credit to New England: They came out with three defensive midfielders and basically man-marked our three key guys in Ale (Bedoya), Haris (Medunjanin) and Borek (Dockal), kind of frustrated us a little bit.”

“We didn’t do a good job with our other players maybe just advancing the ball and connecting passes which kind of forced things and rushed things,” Curtin said. “Little better in the second half I thought. Very good to win 1-0 games at this stage of the year.” 

Philadelphia’s victory boosted it into sole possession of fifth place in the Eastern Conference with 36 points ahead of another crucial Eastern Conference clash on Wednesday against D.C. United. 

The opening 45 minutes produced inactivity in front of goal on both ends of the field, as the Union (11-11-3) failed to hit the target and the Revs (7-10-8) experienced some blunders moving forward on the counter. 

In the 53rd minute, Cory Burke brought the game to life, breaking past the Revolution back line as the offside flag waved on the right sideline. Instead of stopping play, Burke continued his run and beat Matt Turner one-on-one.

“You hear from the age of five, ‘play to the whistle,'” Curtin said. “So credit to Cory, he was the only one that kind of kept going, it seemed in the whole stadium maybe. There was a moment, because I was next to the linesman who was certain that he was offside, where now you’re almost embarrassed for Cory because he’s celebrating, taking his shirt off, on his knees looking to the heavens and you’re kind of going, ‘this is an embarrassing moment for the kid.’ But it was a goal. And it was a big goal. It won us a game. Strange night in that regard, in terms of the goal that was scored that decided the game, but we’ll take it.” 

The initial call was offside, but after a quick trip to the video review monitor, referee Drew Fischer ruled the goal as good, which handed Burke his seventh goal of the season. 

“Following the the video review protocol, the play was allowed to continue until the goal was scored,” Fischer said in the pool report. “At this point, the decision on the field was offside. The VAR recommended a review for a goal, and following the review, a goal was awarded.” 

“The referee on that occasion got the play absolutely correct,” Revolution coach Brad Friedel said. “It’s a difficult one because as (Haris Medunjanin) hits (his pass), the linesman puts his flag up. When he puts his flag up, all the players stop including all their players, except for Burke. To the letter of the law, it’s a goal, but it’s a hard one to take and you clearly hear the whistle after the ball already hits the back of the net and he was onside.”

As the Union pushed for a second goal, the Revs tried to put a consistent attack together in their push for an equalizer. 

Brandon Bye forced Andre Blake into a one-handed save off a corner in the middle of the penalty area in the 68th minute. 

Bye’s scoring opportunity was followed two minutes later by a nice individual effort by Cristian Penilla on the outside of the box. Penilla’s shot forced Blake to dive to his left to make a denial. 

Blake once again came up with a massive save in the 79th minute, as he laid out across the net to knock away Juan Agudelo’s header from the middle of the penalty area. 

As the game dwindled down, a milestone was reached for the Union, as left back Ray Gaddis surpassed Brian Carroll for the club’s all-time lead in minutes. Gaddis’ new club record sits at 13,869 minutes.

Philadelphia’s victory created seven points of separation between itself and the Revolution in the playoff hunt. 

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