Impact's Wenger finds a home at forward – for now
CARSON, Calif. – So it turns out he’s a forward. For now, at least.
The biggest question surrounding 2012 MLS SuperDraft No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wenger was where he’d line up once he got out on the field. He’d starred as a sophomore at Duke in the central midfield and the center of defense, and then this past year, as a junior, scored 17 goals as a center forward.
Talk to five different people, and you’re likely to get five different opinions as to where he’d be best used.
But the only one who really matters is head coach Jesse Marsch, and on Friday at the Home Depot Center, when Wenger came on for his first game action with the Montreal Impact, up top he went.
“I like him as a forward,” Marsch said, stressing, however that a final decision on Wenger’s permanent spot hadn’t been made yet. “When I watched him in college, I thought that was something he was good at. So we’re taking a look at it now, and I thought he had a good last 30 minutes of the game.”
Wenger, like everyone else on the field, was unable to produce a telling moment on the day. Both the friendly against the Portland Timbers, and then a 45-minute friendly against the LA Blues of the USL ended as scoreless draws.
Nonetheless, Wenger showed some flashes of what Marsch likes about his game up top – including a nice combination with Sinisa Ubiparipovic and a 20-yard, left-footed volley that brought a save out of the Blues’ goalkeeper.
“Obviously it wasn’t the best 45 minutes of soccer for me that I’ve ever played,” Wenger said after the second of the day’s two contests. “But the level’s high, I’m happy to get it out of the way and move forward.”
And moving forward, he admits that he’d like to claim an attacking role. Wenger has recently been used in central defense for the US U-23s, and he’s shown more than enough there to imagine him making that a permanent home – especially in this day and age, when central defenders who can ignite possession and attacks out of the back are a highly valued commodity.
But there’s just nothing quite like scoring goals.
“Still trying things out – they tell me where to play and I play there,” Wenger explained. “But hopefully it’ll be more of an attacking position somewhere along the front six.”
It looks like he’ll get his wish. For now.