Union match reports

Match report: Philadelphia Union 2-0 NYCFC

Photo: Ryan Griffith

With reporting by Mike Servedio

Second-half goals from Cory Burke and Ilsinho spurred Philadelphia Union to a second consecutive win, toppling NYCFC 2-0 on a drizzly evening at Talen Energy Stadium.

The final whistle marked the Union’s first clean sheet in MLS since a June 23 win over Vancouver. It was the first time NYCFC had been held without a goal in 14 matches, dating back to May 4.

Jim Curtin made only one change to the side that won a wild match in New England last week. With Fafa Picault suspended, David Accam claimed his place on the left wing. Ilsinho returned to the bench, but Mark McKenzie did not.

It took little time for the dangerous David Villa to announce himself to the home crowd. Just two minutes into the match, the Spaniard slid the ball to Maxi Moralez for a powerful blast that forced Andre Blake into a classically athletic Andre Blake reaction save.

Neither side could gain a foothold in what was an entertaining, open start to the match, with chances coming at both ends. The match settled down after about the 30th minute, with both sides looking to exploit a mistake by the other, but no opportunities presented themselves before the halftime whistle.

The Union broke the deadlock 12 minutes after halftime. Borek Dockal picked up the ball at midfield and drove at the defense. Spotting Burke’s smart run across the center backs, the Czech attacker found him in space at the top of the box. Burke made no mistake, finishing with a strong shot to Sean Johnson’s far post. It gave the Jamaican the team lead in goals, with six so far on the season.

Curtin called for Ilsinho to replace the ineffective Accam, and it took him little time to remind the home supporters of his quality. In the 76th minute, the Brazilian scythed past three NYCFC defenders as if they were traffic cones, cutting from the right wing into the box and curling his shot past a helpless Johnson. The goal was his fifth of the season and seemed to put a final stake into the visitors’ hearts.

Well-beaten, NYCFC resorted to thuggery as the match concluded. After an earlier flashpoint between Ilsinho and Ronald Matarrita, the latter cleaned out the Brazilian with an indefensibly violent tackle near the Union bench. The referee wasted no time in sending off Matarrita, the last act of the match before the final whistle.

The Union’s next match is another six-pointer, as they play host to New England Revolution at Talen Energy Stadium next Saturday. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

Three points
  • Beating the big boys. The Union have had little joy against MLS’s better sides this season. With the visitors from the Bronx sitting at third in the East on nearly two points per game, the victory is one of the Union’s finest this season.
  • Skillsinho. It’s always good to have the Brazilian back. Mere moments after it looked like he’d suffered an ankle sprain, Ilsinho scored a wonderful individual goal that no other player on the Union could duplicate. His return is big for the stretch run.
  • D-fence. The Union’s young defense hadn’t managed a clean sheet in nearly two full months in MLS play. Trusty, Elliott, and Blake put the clamps on a potent NYCFC attack, especially in a dominant second half.

Philadelphia Union

Andre Blake, Keegan Rosenberry, Jack Elliott, Auston Trusty, Ray Gaddis, Haris Medunjanin, Alejandro Bedoya, C.J. Sapong, Borek Dockal (Warren Creavalle 88′), David Accam (Ilsinho 68′), Cory Burke
Unused Subs: John McCarthy, Fabinho, Richie Marquez, Derrick Jones, Marcus Epps

New York City FC

Sean Johnson, Anton Tinnerholm, Maxime Chanot, Alexander Callens (Ronald Matarrita 65′), Ben Sweat, Maxi Moralez, Alexander Ring, Ebenezer Ofori, Jo Inge Berget, David Villa (Jesus Medina 56′), Ismael Tajouri-Shradi (Rodney Wallace 82′)
Unused Subs: Brad Stuver, Sebastien Ibeagha, Eloi Amagat, Thomas McNamara

Scoring summary

PHI: Cory Burke – 57′ (Borek Dockal)
PHI: Ilsinho – 76′ (Borek Dockal)

Disciplinary summary

NYC: Aleksandar Katai — 62′ (unsporting behavior)
PHI: Warren Creavalle – 90′ (unsporting behavior)
NYC: Ronald Matarrita — 90+5′ (serious foul)

Philadelphia Union New York City FC
13 Shots 9
6 Shots on Target 3
5 Shots off Target 3
2 Blocked Shots 3
8 Corner Kicks 4
18 Crosses 19
2 Offsides 4
13 Fouls 14
1 Yellow Cards 1
0 Red Cards 1
447 Total Passes 438
80% Passing Accuracy 82%
50.5% Possession 49.5%
40 Duels Won 49
44% Duels Won % 56%
7 Tackles Won 16
3 Saves 4
13 Clearances 25


  1. el Pachyderm says:

    If you bring negativity to the forum tonight you’ve lost the plot. Be nice to see a strong turn out here for arguably one of the most complete games this team has played in awhile. I understand trust is lost in buckets and won in drops, I understand I am ruthless and deservedly withering in criticism, but happy is happy when hard won and they deserve praise tonight.
    Discernment says there will always be things to nit pick and I have a list of about 4 or 5, but that gets saved for a different day… I’m still looking to see more, a greater body of work to buy in completely —this ‘is a good team,’ but tonight helps.
    Congratulations on an excellent game.
    (Nothing but) flowers from me…. “you got it you got it….don’t leave me stranded here.”

    • I would add that it is COMPLETELY UNREALISTIC to expect these guys to run the table to the end of the season. That having been said, a loss or two does not mean this team is off the rails and pointed in the wrong direction.
      It shouldn’t take a win like this (or at all) for people to see the very obvious improvements in this team over any past product; good things are happening here.
      Of course it’s agonizing when things don’t simply go “up”, but that’s part of the fun, the stumbling, clawing, sometimes sliding back before they catch themselves and claw some more…climb. It’s one of the best parts of watching any sport or following any team.

    • I took my negativity to the stadium last night but the Union took it from me.
      Points in no particular order-
      Manchester JV really seemed to go after Trusty in the beginning and couldn’t break him. He’s going somewhere.
      Villa subbed at 55. Elliott had a lot to do with that.
      I was miffed at Sapong missing that shot, but the team buildup was fantastic.
      The two goals were both impressive for different reasons.
      I fully expected it to be a foul and set piece night from the visitors, but they never seemed to get the chance.
      A few blown calls but mostly a nicely called match.
      One thing really bothered me though…when the kid marching band played before the game and the JV fans tried to drown them out. Absolutely no class.

  2. I just love seeing Rosenberry play well. He adds so much on offense, in so many ways. He isn’t one of those limited FBs who just knows how to run fast to the end line and send in bad crosses. He cuts inside, plays combinations, dips in and out. He can hug the touchline then take a pass into the middle and switch play.

    It’s fantastic to see. If he keeps it up and doesn’t have another slump to start next year, I can see him getting back to earning a call up.

  3. Chris Lehmann says:

    One of the best games I’ve seen the Union play.

    What struck me was the speed of the game. I was really afraid of NYCFC’s counter-attack, but the Union defense was up to the challenge, and the Union were stringing together four and five pass connections that were absolutely beautiful.

    Games like this give me hope… right as I’m about to re-up my season tickets.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      ….if it is true Ernst Tanner argues our best and brightest will be going to better leagues, I expect to hear news on Austin Trusty sometime in the not too distant future.
      Young man is really quite good.

      • defensively, yes.
        Still opportunity for future growth on the more difficult types of offensive distribution into the central channel.
        And needs more work on headers to score from corner kicks.

      • If we got a nice windfall on Trusty, and still have young McKenzie and Elliott to hold down the fort… that would be pretty sweet.

        Maybe the Trusty Fund could be used to secure Dockal’s services on an ongoing basis.

  4. Good all around performance and a fun game. Only real downer was seeing CJ miss a sitter that would have been a nice confidence booster. But 3 points is always good, especially the way DC United has been closing the gap.

  5. A nice win for the Union. Burke is really confident and reaping the rewards. Loved Ilianho’s Chester Messi run for the 2nd goal. NYC center backs did not earn their keep tonight. Team is putting in a nice month of performances here. Hope they can keep it going through the Open Cup final

  6. Bedoya has been great all season – glad to see people starting to appreciate him. Sometimes his technical skills aren’t all there but his effort, engine and soccer IQ are top notch.

  7. John O'Donnell Jr says:

    Well well well, what a difference a consistent scorer makes on this team. Burke’s last two goals have been quality goals of a scorer knowing how to finish.

    I think CJ and Elliott aren’t coming out anytime soon either. CJ might be in a funk but he’s doing the dirty work to let Keegan go forward and be more of an impact pressuring the defence. Makes you wonder if NYCFC back line was a step slower when Ilsinho went dancing through them like he had the ball on a string? Elliott meanwhile follows up his two goal game by helping pitch a zero against one of the top three scoring teams in MLS.

    Quietly Dockal is three assist from tying Christian Maidana for the team assist record. Considering Burke is the leading scorer on the team with six goal now, quite impressive season Dockal is starting to put together.

    Good night, good soccer.

  8. Was pleasantly surprised by the breakdown of the NYC counter. The U bent and didn’t break. Very little to be frustrated about. Really was hoping Accam and C.J. could get something with the chances they had. Otherwise a solid night.

    If Elliott hadn’t scored that brace I’d say Ilsinho’s goal tonight was the highlight of the season. How nice is it to expect the next game could bring something that tops this one.

    • I suggest watching Ilsinho’s goal from this game a few times next to the one he scored from the same spot against Chicago earlier this year before picking a favorite.

      • I’m still leaning towards that Chicago goal, in part influenced by the fact that he victimized Schweinsteiger

  9. Zizouisgod says:

    Really impressive performance by the Union, especially in the 2nd half. Kept up the intensity and movement which ultimately broke NYC down. Probably the most complete performance vs a very good team that I can remember. Well done.

  10. Wow. I’m pleasantly surprised how well we beat up on NYCFC. Fantastic job by every player on the field. There was organization , more movement off the ball from everyone and really did well with keeping possession. They played as a unit. Well done team and well done Curtin. Let’s go U! Keep the streak going !

  11. Can Jim please put in a Real cDM when we are winning like Derrick jones. Creavalle is so bad.

  12. This team is entertaining. Well done!

  13. How nice that was.

  14. I was prepared for a draw. I was pleased with the win. The whole team looked organized. Burke is just as advertised. Ilsinho is sooo much fun!

  15. If Curtin had benched Sapong earlier in the season in favor of Burke, we might have a few more points yet…

    But that’s as churlish as I will be about this excellent victory.

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