Cory Burke emerged from the showers wearing a regal navy bathrobe.
Emblazoned on the back: Man Of The Match.
For just the second time all season, Burke was in the starting XI for Jim Curtin's squad. And just as in his previous start, the 25-year-old scored and the Union won.
Even if things this season haven't gone entirely as planned — such as the red card he drew against Montreal three weeks ago — Burke, just like usual, was all smiles when he stepped in front of the cameras in the Union locker room postgame Wednesday night.
"It's always good to score goals," Burke said. "Whenever you score, you take your two points, so it's a good feeling."
Of all the starters, Burke finished Wednesday's 3-1 win against Chicago with the second-fewest touches. But he made the most of his opportunities, leading the team in shots with four.
After a few near misses in the opening 45, the Jamaican forward cashed in with a wide-open header near the back post from a cross by Borek Dockal in the 51st minute, doubling the Union's advantage for the time being.
A little more than a half-hour later, a slick run by Burke forced a sliding tackle from the Fire's Brandon Vincent, ultimately setting up Dockal for the penalty-kick goal that would salt away the victory.
But with the young Burke saddled behind an MLS veteran in C.J. Sapong, who has manned the final third in Philadelphia for much of the last few seasons, the Union might have to get creative if they want to get their burgeoning offensive weapon on the field more often.
"[Cory] has earned the opportunity to start," manager Jim Curtin said. "C.J. has put a lot of minutes in. We ask him to do a ton of work defensively. The intensity and the heat at the Red Bull game led to a decision that we wanted to maintain that pressure from our front three.
"I think Cory has earned every minute that he got and when he gets out there you can see the pressure he puts on a back four defensively, his commitment to run and fight and give everything for the badge, I think the fans see. That is a good thing. I can't be more happy with his performance. In minimal minutes, he has impacted almost every game he has been in."
Making the task even tougher was the individual matchup Burke faced Wednesday night. Although Chicago isn't among the top teams in the Eastern Conference, it has Bastian Schweinsteiger — a World Cup winner for Germany and an eight-time Bundesliga champion with Bayern Munich.
So it was only fitting that when the Fire man-marked for much of the first half, Burke went right up against Schweinsteiger.
"I watched him when I was younger, and I know he's not the fittest," Burke said. "He's just using his technical ability and his skill, so next time I'm going to do a better job of stepping to the ball and playing it in the middle of the box."
Still, there was confidence flowing from the get-go, knowing that Burke wouldn't have to wait to come off the bench and instead, he'd be on the field from the opening whistle.
It's something Union fans can probably expect to see more of in the coming weeks.
"Whenever you're scoring, you look for the coaches to put you in the starting lineup," Burke said. "When you've got to play with CJ and Jay Simpson, it's always a challenge for me as young player coming into the team. So that's my job — to score goals — and I did just that."