The Union signed forward Cory Burke Thursday.
Burke, who is a mainstay on the Jamaican national team, spent the last two seasons with the Union's United Soccer League affiliate, the Bethlehem Steel. Burke, 25, ranked second on the team with 9 goals last season. The forward will occupy an international roster slot.
“We are pleased to sign Cory to our First Team and reward his excellent performance with Bethlehem Steel FC,” said Union Sporting Director Earnie Stewart. “Cory’s success is a testament to the importance of Bethlehem in developing players within our organization. Under Brendan Burke and his staff, Cory has been playing in our system for two years now. We anticipate a successful transition to the Union, and we are looking forward to see Cory take the next step in his career.”
Burke will likely start the season behind CJ Sapong and Jay Simpson on the forward depth chart. Burke will assume the hole that Charlie Davies' departure left on the roster.
The Union’s 2018 season schedule was officially released Thursday and it revealed an advantageous start for the club.
After opening their season against the New England Revolution on March 3, the Union will have a week off before hosting the Columbus Crew on March 17. The club then visits the Colorado Rapids on March 31 but returns home to face the San Jose Earthquakes and Orlando City on April 7 and 13.
Five of the Union’s first seven games will be at Talen Energy Stadium, setting them up for important early success, as the team was an impressive 10-4-3 at home last season but went just 1-10-6 on the road.
But the Union’s early fortune quickly turns with five of their next seven games on the road. The team kicks off that crucial run with a three-game road trip starting on May 4 against the reigning MLS champion Toronto FC, and finishing against the Crew and Montreal Impact. That five-in-seven road set also includes the New York Red Bulls and a visit to the irreplicable home confines of Atlanta United.
Notable matches for the Union include the first-ever clash with expansion side LAFC at the freshly built Banc of California Stadium on June 30 and the Union’s first visit to D.C. United’s brand-new Audi Field (expected to open in June). The Union face the Seattle Sounders on Wednesday, Sept. 19 at CenturyLink Field. Minnesota United (2017 expansion team) will make its first-ever visit to Philadelphia on Oct. 6.
As far as national exposure, the Union will be shown on ESPN twice, April 14 vs. Orlando City and Sept. 23 vs. Sporting Kansas City, and on Unimas once on April 28 against D.C. United.
The Union on Wednesday re-signed three players: defender Fabinho and midfielders Fabian Herbers and Ilsinho.
Fabinho has been a longtime Union staple, playing in 110 matches, sixth-most in franchise history. Among current Union players, Fabinho trails only Ray Gaddis in total matches.
Herbers enters his third season with the Union after totaling four goals and nine assists in his first two. He was the sixth overall pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft.
Ilsinho has played over 3,100 minutes in his two seasons with the Union, scoring eight goals with seven assists in 52 matches. Two of the goals were game-winners.