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Union ride first half goal to first MLS home win of the season over the Red Bulls

Cory Burke’s early goal leads the Union to first home win of the MLS season



Cory Burke scored in the 9th minute, and the Philadelphia Union controlled the game from start to finish to beat the New York Red Bulls 1-0 at Subaru Park on Saturday night. With the win, the Union climbed to the top of the table with 8 points alongside four other teams and have avenged their slow start playing simultaneously in the Concacaf Champions League.

The Union came out with the steady backline of Jakob Glesnes and Jack Elliott, who along with Andre Blake and Jamiro Monteiro have played every minute this season. Leon Flach put in another gutsy performance at the bottom of the midfield diamond in place of José Martinez, who served the final game of his suspension. Anthony Fontana returned to the ten position behind Sergio Santos and Burke while leading scorer Kacper Przybylko had a night of limited action.

For the Red Bulls, Brazilian striker Fábio started alone up top. The current league-leader in assists was coming off back-to-back games with two assists but was held in check for most of the game. 17-year-old phenom Caden Clark started in midfield and was also quiet, and U.S. International Aaron Long, who started in the center of defense alongside Sean Nealis, faced constant pressure from the Union all night. Red Bull keeper Carlos Coronel had two shutouts heading into the match and had to make four saves to keep the Union from adding to their lead. 

The Union opened the game with a much needed fast start. In the first minute, Aaron Long nearly deflected Olivier Mbaizo’s cross into the goal, but the Union had a scare two minutes later when Andre Blake came out to snag a cross and collided with Jack Elliott. Both players stayed down for several minutes but returned to action and contributed to another shutout, Blake’s league-leading third of the MLS season.

Burke broke the game open in the 9th minute with a quick strike. Anthony Fontana possessed the ball off Burke’s header and pushed it to the left side of the box to Monteiro, who slipped Burke in behind the defense. Burke slid the ball past a rushing Coronel for his second goal in three games. Monteiro’s assist was his second of the MLS season and fourth overall.

The Union looked to be the aggressors the rest of the way and put the Red Bulls on their heels throughout much of the first half. Fontana had a good chance from close range in the 25th minute, and a great combination down the right shortly after almost produced a second goal but Bedoya lacked the speed on the final pass to Burke at the penalty spot. The Union had more of the ball and possessed more of the energy despite playing a midweek game while the Red Bulls enjoyed a full week of training.

In the second half, the Union had more of the action in the first few minutes, with Santos on the end of multiple opportunities. Santos almost scored off a great buildup down the right side, but the Red Bulls gained momentum and Patryk Klimala almost slipped the equalizer in from a wide angle in the 58th minute that rolled across the goalmouth.

Mbaizo had a great look in the 64rd minute when he broke through down the right after a combination with Przybylko, but his shot was stopped by Coronel. After a brief lapse in defending toward the end, the Red Bulls looked dangerous moving forward and appeared closer to snagging an equalizer, but Jakob Glesnes made several stops and Blake was solid in controlling the box. Alejandro Bedoya had another masterful performance and was still attacking late despite fighting cramps earlier in the half.

Dru Yearwood was sent off in extra time for pushing Leon Flach to the ground and sparked another shoving match that got the juices flowing but lacked the intensity of the conclusion against Saprissa in the first leg of the Champions League. The Union saw out the final seconds and earned their fourth-straight win over their northern rivals.

The Union will have eight days of rest before they are back in action next Sunday when they travel to D.C. United.

PHI: Burke 9’

Red Cards: Yearwood 90’+3

Yellow Cards:
NYRB: Long 51’
NYRB: Nealis 61’
NYRB: Yearwood 79’
PHI: Flach 90’+3


Union: Blake, Mbaizo, Glesnes, Elliott, Wagner, Flach, Monteiro, Bedoya (Sullivan 90’), Fontana (Przybylko 58’), Santos (Real 78’), Burke

Unused Subs: Freese, Collin, Findlay, Turner, McGlynn, Aaronson

Red Bulls: Coronel, Duncan, Nealis, Long, Tarek (Edwards 36’), Amaya (Fernandez 54’), Davis, Casseres Jr., Clark (Yearwood 76’), Royer (Klimala 46’), Fábio (Harper 76’)

Unused Subs: Meara, Reyes, Tolkin, White

Greg Oldfield is a teacher, coach, and writer from the Philadelphia area. His fiction and nonfiction have been published in Barrelhouse, Maudlin House, Carve, and the Under Review, among others. He also writes for the Florida Cup and Florida Citrus Sports. In 2023, he received an award for Best Column from the United Soccer Coaches for his story "A Philadelphia Soccer Hollywood Story." His work can also be found at

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