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Player of the Week: Jack McInerney

Photo: Earl Gardner

Oops, he did it again.

Except this time, it came with goals.

After scoring his first goal since August, Jack McInerney liked it so much he did it again 41 minutes later.

The goals set in motion Philadelphia Union’s most impressive home win in the team’s three-year history, a stunning 4-0 demolition of Sporting Kansas City on Saturday.

On each goal, McInerney played poacher, timing his runs to find the ball in front of goal at exactly the optimal time. He only took two shots all game, but he buried both in the back of the net. It was good enough to rank him third in this week’s league-wide Castrol rankings.

McInerney described himself last week as “pissed off” with Peter Nowak’s management, and he has played his last two matches with an intensity reflecting that. After being stapled to the bench under Nowak in May, he is now a staple in new manager John Hackworth’s lineup, and his excellent play may be the best tangible argument for the Union retaining Hackworth.

Somehow it seems appropriate that the first sign of a legitimate heir apparent to Sebastien Le Toux comes from the young Union original wearing his old number. For a team that desperately needed something to smile about it, the angry teenager has stepped up to provide it.

Honorable mention

  • Carlos Valdes

The center back dominated in defense, offering a reminder of his all-star talents by putting in his best shift in recent memory. He had 10 clearances, seven intercepted passes and 13 defensive recoveries, according to Opta stat tracking, and was everywhere he needed to be. The tandem of Valdes and Amobi Okugo is looking awfully good.

  • John Hackworth

What? He’s not a player? Oh well. Hackworth has made all the right calls so far. That lineup out there is his lineup. Those tactics — and their difference from his predecessor — are his. The Union are a changed team, and that comes down to Hack.

3 Comments

  1. James "4-3-3" Forever says:

    Literally still 19.
    This is the definition of building your team on promising youth prospects and letting them grow.
    And would Jack still be eligible for the Olympics in 4 years? Even if not, he is still plenty young and growing into a reliable poacher would be great for him at such a young age.

  2. James, Jack is not eligible for the 2016 Olympics. Those are for players born in 1993 or later, with of course the exception for the three overage players.

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