McInerney coming through in the clutch for Union

Jack McInerney

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By THOMAS FLOYD

CHESTER, Pa. — Jack McInerney can’t quite explain it. It’s still early in this 2013 campaign, but when the Philadelphia Union have found themselves in need of a goal, he’s been the man to provide it. Is it skill? Is it timing? Is it luck?

“I don’t know what it is,” McInerney said. “It just happened at the right time for me.”

For the second straight week, it was McInerney who provided the late heroics for the Philadelphia Union as they registered a 1-0 win Saturday over the New England Revolution at a cold, rainy PPL Park.

After scoring in the 79th minute of Philadelphia’s 1-0 triumph at Colorado last week, McInerney converted his own rebound off a corner kick in the 76th minute Saturday.

Timing, it would appear, is a strong suit of his.

“He’s always been a clutch player,” coach John Hackworth said. “But now, he’s doing it week in, week out in this league.”

It seemed fitting McInerney’s tally came amid a goalmouth scramble after Bobby Shuttleworth saved his initial header. It wasn’t a pretty goal, but it wasn’t a pretty game either.

As the Union shifted from a 4-4-2 to a 4-3-3 in search of the full three points at home, they figured a long, sophisticated buildup probably wasn’t in the cards.

“With the weather, we knew it was going to be a battle, it was going to be one of those games that’s going to be 1-0,” McInerney said. “We held it down in the back and we got the ball into the box as much as possible, and one fell for us.

For the second straight game, McInerney started up top alongside Sebastien Le Toux, the former All-Star for Philadelphia who was brought back in an offseason trade with New York.

While both players, as well as Hackworth, said their rapport still needs plenty of work, Philadelphia’s recent winning ways have cultivated plenty of optimism around what the attacking duo is capable of going forward.

“It’s getting better and better,” Le Toux said of the partnership. “Maybe we still need support from the midfield because we feel maybe sometimes we’re a bit too much alone by ourselves in the attack. But he was good. We started to be closer to each other, tried to combine more.”

With goals in back-to-back games, McInerney is giving Union fans reason to believe his upward trajectory will only continue after his breakout eight-goal season last year.

But to Hackworth, McInerney’s success is most notably a crucial part of the big Union picture. In his fourth year, the 20-year-old is showing how patience with prospects can pay dividends long term.

If McInerney can maintain this form while the likes of Zac MacMath, Amobi Okugo and Michael Farfan offer similar returns, the Union’s future is bright indeed.

“We have young players and we’re stepping up, and Jack is certainly the epitome of that right now,” Hackworth said. “Those are the little progressions that I think these young guys have to make in their careers.”

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8 Responses to McInerney coming through in the clutch for Union

  1. marv says:

    He is a unique player, usmnt prospect 2014?

    • vince says:

      Not quite there yet. Last year was his first year of really getting PT. He’s more of an out-and-out goal poacher with no real special qualities. He’ll have to be a finished product before going to Europe with that type of skill set.

      • jlm says:

        agree that he is not a prospect for 2014, but his “special qualities” seem to be his movement and back-to-goal play.

        • drew11 says:

          Seems more like a Taylor Twellman type to me. MLS lifer. He is lacking a bit of quality for the international level. Still glad to have players like him in MLS.

          • broadsthooligans says:

            He really is the Wondo/Twellman type striker. He doesn’t have the speed of Twellman, but it’s all about hustle and timing. Timing’s a lot harder to get right in Europe than it is here, it’s just a faster game. I doubt McInerney could fit into an international squad any time soon. Wouldn’t be surprised to see him get multiple shots in the run up to ’18 but he’s gonna need to broaden his skills to get a real chance at making it.

  2. PD says:

    Seba said it — two forwards alone can’t get it done. Along with Ahoppenot the three of them are very solid, but we don’t have an attacking midfielder. Until that piece is in place we have to hope Jack Mac continues to make something happen.

    What’s up with Torres?

  3. 21 says:

    quality talent. another season or 2 of MLS and he should head abroad. will need him for 2018

  4. Juan Valdez says:

    I’m waiting for the Union to come up with a midfield that this kid deserves. Look back at his national team performance. He’s had very little to work with on this team.