Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz
We all know the story by now.
Peter Nowak’s early-season antics left the team a shambles and bereft of veteran leadership. John Hackworth righted the ship, putting faith in the young players of the team, leading to a mid-season surge. That impetuous, youthful team, so full of potential, found itself unable to do enough to repair the damage done, and faded from the playoff picture.
Now, it appears we are into the denouement, where a late-season surge has the Union finishing strong, showing what might have been.
And what could be.
The hero of this story?
Whether he is a reflection of the team’s path this season or the driving force behind it, what is clear is that right now, he’s the Union’s central figure. If he’s aggressive and having success, the Union is dangerous. If he’s having trouble, the Union has trouble.
This past week has been a banner one for Jack. With a goal and a fantastic knock-down assist against Columbus, and the winner against New England, he’s been at his best, showing what makes him such a promising prospect, leading the team toward a finish that could go a ways toward mending the broken, battered, and bruised feelings we’ve all had about this team this year.
Because, here’s the thing about potential—it don’t mean a thing if you don’t start producing (cough, cough, Freddy Adu).
This season, Jack’s shown that he belongs. He’s shown he’s no longer content to be the Next Big Thing.
That’s in the past.
He wants to be Today’s Featured Attraction, and he’s showing it by performing where it counts, on the pitch.
Jack might never be a superstar—no one can see the future, and the team context is too important to know how a player will develop—but he will score goals. With proper service and the right partners-in-crime, he might score a lot of goals.
And in the right circumstances, Jack might do a whole lot more than that.
Right now, though, all that matters is this: Jack McInerney is the most important player on the Philadelphia Union, and that makes him our Player of the Week.