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Raves: Jack McInerney

Editor’s note: Over the next few weeks, PSP contributors will be posting what we’re calling “Raves” about our favorite Philadelphia players. They need not be the team’s best players, but they’re guys we like. You hear plenty of rants when the Union losing. Here are the raves, continuing with Tim’s rave about Union striker Jack McInerney.

Young, but fearless

From the opening game bicycle attempt to the stunner at New England, Jack McInerney puts it on display. He doesn’t seem to care about his age or height in relation to other professionals—he cares about the ball finding the back of the net. And, with any luck, he’ll be finding the back of the net for Philadelphia for years to come.

The Union’s youngest player started the season as a bit of question mark. Many suspected that he was a long-term project for coach Nowak—a player to develop for a couple of years. But McInerney had other ideas. Jack has played his way into seventeen appearances for the Union as a rookie, often as a late game substitute—none perhaps more visible or memorable than his equalizer in Foxboro. Jack has only started one game this season; that may not be the case in 2011. His three goals this season are fourth on the team—ahead of Alejandro Moreno who has spent a large portion of the year as a starter. With solid production in limited minutes, one must expect to see more of Union Jack next season.

Expect to see more of Union Jack next year

Underestimated, but resilient

He’s not the kind of player you see dogging the defense—that’s more of Le Toux’s style. And he’s unlikely to be the player on the breakaway—that’s more of a winger or speedy forward’s mentality. McInerney is a tactician. A surgeon. Finding space, finding seams, finding the ball. His smooth touch is underestimated, his timing yet to really make people stop and take notice. But I’ve noticed. Jack appears one second, and disappears into the fray a second later. A sleeper in an active-man’s game.

The plays he makes look easy, but it’s his skill with the ball that makes the difference. The unexpected step-over, the cheeky pass. With big-name players, you expect big-name flash. McInerney might be the most underestimated player in the forward rotation, and I’m willing to bet that he likes it that way. You won’t see him often during matches—he’s at his best when other players are getting all the attention. He trails the play looking for the lethal run, slides to the near post as the defense shifts to cover a sprinting Le Toux. Jack Mac is the counter-point. The balance to the visible aggressor.

Known, but…

What you think you know about McInerney, you don’t know. What his limitations are, you may have decided, but I doubt he has. The truth is that we haven’t even scratched the surface. The player you see now is only part of the battle. Jack will keep getting better. His chemistry with great passers like Mapp and Coudet will continue to evolve. His nose for goal may even rival that of Sebastien’s (both in production and in size). What we think we know, we really don’t.

An American Messi? No one fits that title. But the jaw-dropping skills, the moments of awe are clearly within this Jack’s grasp. Maybe only bounded by his imagination and the uselessness of FIFA officiating. McInerney has the talent to produce highlight-reel goals on a nightly basis—but will he get that chance? Seated behind the 26 year-old Le Toux and 19 year-old Mwanga, McInerney does not look to be breaking into the starting line-up anytime soon. He certainly warrants more playing time with his three late goals this season, but it’s hard to make a case for beating out the other two. Time will certainly tell when it comes to this man’s impact on the field and off.

For now I’m reserving judgement. I don’t think we’ve seen the first of Jack McInerney, let alone the last.

Photo by Nicolae Stoian

3 Comments

  1. Union Jack is one of the most underestimated players we have. He constantly makes things interesting. Much like Roger Torres, whether or not he’s scoring goals, he makes it exciting as hell to watch. I really wish we saw more from him this season. With a few more starts, I can easily see him becoming a fan favorite on par with Le Toux and Mwanga.

  2. That boy i’ve seen playing many times in the youth national team. He is a sleeping giant; no one knows how good he is. For me I think he is gonna the best player ever playing for the us. WAIT AND SEE!

  3. Brett Lollar says:

    My whole family enjoy the exitment jack brings to the field. We look forward to his future and hope my son learns to follow in his steps. Keep it up Jack!

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