Ilsinho, Union dancing goal celebration vs. RBNY
Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Union's Ilsinho is MLS's most electrifying player and he isn't going anywhere | Sam Jones

My favorite player and your favorite player isn’t going anywhere. Ilsinho is staying in Philadelphia. He re-signed. He’s not letting you quit him. And that’s great news. And terrible news, especially if you have to play against him. Because here’s the thing:

Ilsinho hates you. 

It’s not personal. 

But you’re in his way. And if you’re in his way you have to accept the consequences.

Why did Ilsinho meg you twelve times in a row in front of your own family?

Ilsinho hates you.

Why did Ilsinho regift that drill you bought for his birthday even though he knew you’d be at the same secret Santa?

Ilsinho hates you. 

There have already been much better things said on this site about the “tangible” “logical” “soccer” “reasons” Ilsinho was successful last season to the point where charts putting him among the league’s most effective players per 90 were possible. 

But I think there are larger things at play. Ilsinho is powered by a love for hating. It keeps him going. He knows he doesn’t even have to score to ruin your day. He can score though. At any time. And he’s going to make sure you're on highlight reels for years to come when he does.

Even his celebration of running in place is simply so that you can see what you missed as he blew by you. He wants it to hurt. He’s John Wick with a soccer ball attached to a magic wand. He doesn’t care how much the wand makes him look like the Cookie Crisp Wizard because he just elastico’d around every single friend you have while you were distracted by that weird analogy.

Now some of you may point back to the per-90 stats and are dying to make the very lame point of, “Well it’s much easier for him to be in a higher percentile because he’s played fewer minutes.” 

If you’re thinking this, you’re looking in the wrong place. You’re missing Ilsinho’s prestige.  

At this point, does anyone know any magicians? In the first decade of the 2000’s, TV’s were littered with the likes of David’s Blaine and Copperfield, and other assorted “illusionists” I’m absolutely not looking up but know existed. They’ve all disappeared from the collective zeitgeist. Why? Because we stopped being interested. Despite many tricks involving becoming invisible, they were too there. Our sense of wonder evaporated through sheer repetition. But Ilsinho knows. 

Ilsinho knows the power of leaving people wanting more. And he’s not here to lull you into a sense of comfort. He wants it to stand out when he ruins your entire day. He wants you to say thank you for being one of the lucky few who had their heart ripped out in front of hundreds of thousands of people. 

And this makes him the most electrifying player in MLS. He’s the dude in your pickup game trying every trick imaginable, but actually succeeding and on a much larger scale. Ilsinho is what we wish we could be, but he’ll never allow it. 

Ilsinho hates you. And it would be a shame if he stopped.


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