SBI MLS Player of the Week: Jack McInerney

JackMcInerney2POW (ISIPhotos.com)

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By DAN KARELL

He may not even be 21 years old yet, but Jack McInerney is scoring goals like a seasoned veteran.

McInerney scored two first-half goals on Sunday in the Union’s 3-2 victory over D.C. United, a brace that pushed his recent run to four goals in three matches, and six on the season. His exploits in Sunday’s win helped him earn SBI MLS Player of the Week honors.

McInerney scored his first goal in the seventh minute, taking a pass from teammate Conor Casey before slipping past the D.C. United defense and finishing into the far post. The second came in the 26th minute off a long throw-in from teammate Sheanon Williams, with McInerney finishing into the far post with the left foot once more.

The 20-year old beat out Landon Donovan, Nick Rimando and Aurelien Collin for this week’s honor.

What did you think of McInerney’s performance? Which player would have received your SBI MLS Player of the Week vote?

Share your thoughts below.

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46 Responses to SBI MLS Player of the Week: Jack McInerney

  1. 46 says:

    dude should head to Europe summer 2014. but should slowly get some time with the Nats. might be useful WC 2018

  2. 46 says:

    atm he’s behind Jozy, Gomez, EJ, Boyd, Agudelo,

    but he’s the youngest so he has time

    • TomG says:

      Right now, I don’t see enough technical ability from him to be an international caliber striker. He has always reminded me a lot of Taylor Twellman. He might be a little more athletic than TT was, but I don’t think it’s enough to make him a consistent USMNT player. He’s just a pure, Wondoesque poacher. You never know, though. If his athleticism is a bit more than I think it is, with his work rate, he could be a Herc level striker.

      • Esteban de la Sexface says:

        @TomG – I think you’re spot on w/that. He doesn’t really contribute anything to the team beyond scoring goals. He’s not even much of a physical presence. Nonetheless, he’s scoring goals pretty consistently and if he continues to do so, he’ll get his shot on a bigger stage.

        • Drew says:

          I’d disagree. If you have watched the Union play this year he is more than just a poacher. He is great on the ball and making the right decisions, as well as making himself open for headers or put ins.

          He’s still raw, but is still putting in more goals than most at such a young age.

          • Esteban de la Sexface says:

            @Drew – I’m a Union season ticket holder. He isn’t that good on the ball and doesn’t make good decisions, but you’re absolutely right that he puts himself in good positions.

            • Drew says:

              I probably should have said playing next to Daniel and Cruz he looks good on the ball and at making decisions. My bad.

            • Rees says:

              Give me a break. I completely agree that he’s a great poacher, but he’s not JUST a great poacher – the timing of his runs and the way he recognizes space is as good or better than any striker in the league (and I’m not talking about just in the box). Even when the service never arrives, you can see McInerney’s understanding of how a striker should move. You just don’t see that from many strikers – let alone 20 year olds. Jozy has spent years in Europe developing his hold-up play. McInerney has a ton of time to develop the rest of his game – in my mind he’s already lightyears ahead of his peers.

          • Rory Miller says:

            Question from a Rapids fan: how has Casey looked this year? Is his physical game helping open up chances for mcInerney?

            • dan c says:

              In the small sample size of games that Mac and Casey have played together, it seems that he is indeed opening space for Mac. Casey is playing the classic target striker and his phsicality is pretty impressive. I’m also impressed by his touch and vision, something I hadn’t noticed in my limited viewing of his play.

        • Paddy Megroyn says:

          Yeah, all he does is score goals. No team ever needs that.

          • TomG says:

            but he won’t score goals with USMNT or with European teams. Not without improving his technical ability. That’s the point.

            • Paddy Megroyn says:

              Would say that finishing is the most important technical skill of a striker to develop and he seems to be doing a very good job of that as a 20 yr MLS player.

              Not saying that he’s ready for the full national team yet, but also not ready to project his maximum upside either (as you have done).

              • TomG says:

                Finishing isn’t a technical skill unless you’re talking about ball striking and in that regard, he’s nothing special, even for a 20-year-old. His goals are pretty ordinary, technically speaking. You tell me how he’s going to be better than Wondo, than Chris Rolfe, than Taylor Twellman? I don’t see it unless he improves technically. You’re not evaluating the player, you’re just looking at a stat. You’re also misreading what I’m saying. I never put a ceiling on him. I just said that UNLESS he improves technically, he won’t do anything on a higher level. Let’s raise the standards for our players here. Nose for goal is not enough any more. We’re better than that. We need our strikers to be toolsy, technically proficient forces who also have intangibles like work rate and nose for the goal.

              • GW says:

                Tom G.

                “His goals are pretty ordinary, technically speaking”

                Did you see Dempsey’s goal against Man. City the other day? The ball was on the right wing and Dempsey lined himself up at the far post, avoided the crowd, and slid Bale’s pass into an empty net.

                A very ordinary goal technically speaking. A classic Deuce goal.

                Had Jack Mac been in that position he has enough ability to have scored it as well.

                Does he have the vision to see that play developing, the anticipation for where that cross would wind up and the calm to pull the trigger at the death? Who knows? I do know he has enough skill. If he keeps doing well with Philly, I’d give him a shot. JK knows goal scorers better than anyone so I trust him to figure this one out.

                “We need our strikers to be toolsy, technically proficient forces who also have intangibles like work rate and nose for the goal”

                Nope, The USMNT needs strikers who can score goals. Wondo and Boyd both fit your description but they haven’t scored for the US senior team. And if they continue that way, what exactly is the point?

                Have you ever watched Chicharito? All he does is score goals and nothing else. He draws a lot of flack for not doing anything other than score. But as long as he does SAF will keep him around. Do you think the US could use him? I do.

                I agree it sucks to have one guy who can only score goals but that is better than not being able to score goals at all. After all that is the whole point of the game isn’t it? To score one more goal than the other guy.

            • Jason says:

              What technical ability do you want him to improve? He’s a striker, not a center midfielder. So he’s not going to dribble through the entire defense a la Messi…I’d take a guy that shoots on goal for the nats. Did you see the goals he scored against DC? First one he makes a great run, waits for the ball, dribbles through 2 defenders, hits a left footed shot into the side netting from 15 yards out. Second goal he traps, turns and shoots without letting the ball hit the ground. Even on the Casey goal, his run froze the center back, keeping him from moving into Casey’s path.

        • Smackey the Frog says:

          I don’t blame you for that opinion, but he’s doing more and more of the little things that a forward should do. I was pleased with his defense on a few of DC’s set pieces yesterday. Taking a more vocal leadership role too. Will he ever be a Euro star? I’m not sure he has the physicality for that, but he could probably start for a mid-table EPL side up front in a few years. He clearly loves the game and is doing whatever he can to get better. This will be fun to watch.

          • TomG says:

            by technically, I mean ball skills – touch, ball striking, dribbling, passing, etc. I know he thinks the game well, has a nose for goal, and makes good decisions, but so does Wondo, so does Rolfe, so did Twellman. I think he can be a good MLS goal scorer, but in order to be successful at a higher level he will have to improve technically or he will fail when he tries to go to another league or to the USMNT like all those players failed.

          • TomG says:

            Based on Chris Rolfe’s inability to do progress beyond the Danish league, I feel mid-table BPL starter is unrealistic. I don’t really see how he’s better than a Chris Rolfe unless he greatly improves his ball skills. I’m not knocking him. I like him a lot, but I want to see more out of him, especially on the technical side.

            • TomG says:

              Actually, in looking up his stats, Rolfe was never the pure goal scorer I thought he was. I think Twellman/Wondo are probably better comps. In what way is J-Mac superior to Twellman? I don’t think I see it yet, but he can improve. Deuce improved his technical skill greatly in recent years. It’s just a difficult thing to project.

              • Paddy Megroyn says:

                Since you toss around the word “technical” a lot, please explain specifically what you think that Jack Mac should improve upon (i.e. – first touch, ball striking, etc.).

        • George Baldwin says:

          Is that you, Ben Olsen?

  3. Rich H says:

    Not sure why Agudelo should be ahead of him. Jack has 19 goals in 74 apps Juan 12 goals in 67 apps.

    • Rich H says:

      And probably more importantly who has better form lately

      • Esteban de la Sexface says:

        @Rich – I agree that Agudelo hasn’t been that impressive lately, but I don’t think it’s more important who has played better most recently. When it comes to the USMNT, a long term view should be employed and while McInerney is young, most would agree that Agudelo is more talented and he has played alright for the National Team. So Agudelo should still be above McInerney but it’s not written in stone.

    • Drew says:

      Also he hasn’t been starting since last year. So half of those games are with very few minutes.

  4. Drew says:

    Gold Cup during WCQ is to see what players with potential can do (Holden, Davies, or Rogers from 09). Continuing my point from the last thread the GC will be our B-team so it’s not unlikely we will see him if he continues this form. He also seems more comfortable on the ball than most players in MLS and is willing to take on one or two at a time.

  5. Steve says:

    Thing is, if you don’t give a player a chance to show at the national level, you will never really know if they are up to the task. Look forward to him hopefully continuing his hot start and being given a chance with the Gold Cup squad.

  6. Steve-o says:

    That photo makes him look like a young tom cruise.

  7. Tyrone DeAndre Williams Johnson says:

    Gee, I wonder why he wasn’t included in the U-23 Olympic Qualifying roster?

    #USSoccerDiversityAgenda

    • The Squad says:

      He got his shot…

      One of the final cuts if I’m not mistaken.

      That being said, this guy has is going to be pretty good.

      He has good instincts around the goal. Sort of has a natural ability with the ball at his feet but with coaches in his ear and the pressure of being perhaps the go-to striker in Philly (Letoux not withstanding) has maybe led to some hiccups, some bioneheaded stuff..but he’s fearless

      Seems to be a MaGee/Rolfe type of young American striker that needs high-level competion to iron out his game.

      A shot overseas or even right here in MLS with a coach willing to give him reps will help.

      Though slight he seems tough and focused. Philly will do well to go the Vancouver or TFC route and poach some experienced talent to mix with a guy llike this.

      Has he maxxed out yet?

      Who knows its up to him really.

      His youth works because he’s had pressure early.

      Philly is in transisition and folks straight up doubted him…

  8. utep915miners says:

    This gun has lot of potential and the way he scores,is like watching a veteran put the ball in the net. He has the bright light over his head as he plays and touches the ball, too bad he has no experienced player around him to take him to the next level, just like behkam, donovan, thierry, keane, martins, cahill and others have helped their young teammates. Europe here he comes, just like Omar Gonzales. However, Omar Salgado from whitecaps has a lot of potential but his injury and playing minutes have hold him back.

  9. 2tone says:

    Good striker. Has a very high ceiling as well.

    Should be interesting to watch his continued development the next few years.

  10. Shchors says:

    I too am a Union season ticket holder. I agree with Esteban that Jack Mac is nothing great with the ball nor does he make good decisions. He does, however, have great poaching instincts, has some quickness and shoots sharply with both feet from short to medium distance. Also, has a good vertical leap for a small guy. Reminds me a bit of the old 1980s French striker Papin. I also doubt that he will have much of an international career. A US striker has to be able to create opportunities on his own and cannot merely rely on service, since 4 out of 5 games, he won’t receive any. Don’t get me wrong. I am excited for the kid as a fan. But, we must be realistic.

    • GW says:

      What this kid has already is a good idea of how to move, how to find the spaces in a penalty box. This is very hard to teach.

      These other skills that everyone says he lacks and needs to learn?

      That stuff is a lot easier to learn than what he already knows.

      • TomG says:

        I disagree.. Most top technical players develop their ball skills and creativity at a very early age kicking sock balls around on the street or similar activities. This is something English pundits have bemoaned for years as the reason England can’t develop top technical players like other countries. JMac will never become a top technical player. It’s already too late for that, but he can definitely improve, especially his touch and his ball striking. Those are things that can be developed later on.

    • dan c says:

      He does make good decisions. He just makes them without the ball. A strikers most important decision making happens without the ball. I’m a STH as well and the improvement in this kid is dramatic.

      Everyone argues about his technical ability… First goal he chose to slow his run, then split two defenders with the outsie of his left foot and then scored with his left from distance. 2nd goal a touch with the right to settle on a flicked on balland then another finish with the left.

      He is not tall by any means but when you watch him game in and game out he is much stronger then he looks and is improving in the air. I’m not saying he’s going to be the Nats version Klose or Klinnsman but he is a better player then people give him credit for even when you don’t consider the goals he’s scoring.

  11. TomG says:

    Can’t compare Chicharo to JMac because he’s faster. Even so, every small, nose for goal striker without great tools or skills gets compared to Chicharito. It’s ridiculous the same way every AAA pitcher with an 88mph fastball and no breaking ball gets compared to Greg Maddux. Do any of them become aces? No. Why? Because Maddux was special. Chicharo is special. JMac has a long way to go if he’s going to become Chicharito. The chances are miniscule that he’ll ever come close to that level. Don’t use Dempsey either. Deuce has much more size and strength and his skills are far superior. Show me JMac scoring some of the cheeky wonder goals Deuce scores and I will sign up. The mid tier leagues of Europe and South America are littered with JMac types. Klinsi won’t bother with him until/ unless he improves his technical game. There are much better prospects out there with better skills and tools. I can’t believe how many people seem to basically be arguing that tools and skills don’t matter. I guess that’s why our program can’t develop top technical players at this point.

    • GW says:

      Mr G,

      You are of hiding behind a fog of semantics.

      Clint would be an otherwise unremarkable midfielder if not for his scoring touch. Which is why AVB considers him to be a striker.

      What is “special “ about Chicharito is he scores goals. He is not particularly fast or particularly good on the ball but he is excellent at moving in the box and winding up where he needs to be to have a scoring opportunity. A lot of people don’t know how to do that. It seems JMac does. And if he is half decent in the air and can shoot, which apparently he can and if he has enough ball control so that he can do what he needs to do then he should be okay.

      All these other “technical” things you are talking about make you a good all-around soccer player but aren’t really necessary to be a top flight goal scorer.
      JMac has all the skills he already needs to score goals at the MLS level. You write as if he already doomed to mediocrity but whether he is or will be good enough to score at a higher level you don’t know until he actually gets there and gives it a go. If he has a good year with the Union, where he led the team in assists last year, then I would say he is progressing nicely.

  12. Neruda says:

    Klinsi will bother if he is near the top of MLS this season in goals (at least for a January camp call-up) especially for a team like the Union. Klinsi loves technical skill but also loves high percentage goal scorers even more. After all he’s given Wondo lots of chances on the NT.

    • TomG says:

      You think he’s given him lots of chances? I don’t see it that way. For a 30 goal scorer? I hate that I’m sounding like I’m down on JMac. I’m not. I really like the kid. I’m just disappointed that people seem to be discounting technical skill and tools. I don’t want him to become the next Wondo or the next Twellman. I want USA to start developing our own Can Persies, Drogbas, etc.