Did going scoreless affect Jack McInerney's last chance to make USMNT's Gold Cup squad?
CHESTER, Pa. – Jack McInerney thought he played well in the Philadelphia Union's 3-0 win over the New York Red Bulls on Sunday. But did he play well enough to claim a spot on the Jurgen Klinsmann’s CONCACAF Gold Cup roster?
Following the game, McInerney said the US national team coaches were closely watching him during the nationally televised game on ESPN.
“I got a heads up that it was kind of going to be based on this performance this weekend,” McInerney said. “Obviously it would have helped to score. But I’ve obviously proven I can do that.”
McInerney, who was the only Union player to be named to the preliminary Gold Cup roster earlier this month, said he should hear about a potential US national team call-up early this week. In the meantime, the league’s co-leading scorer is trying not to get too stressed about it.
“Obviously I would like to make it,” he said. “But if I don’t make it, it’s not like I’m going to be let down or anything.”
If Sunday’s game truly was an audition for the Gold Cup, McInerney picked a bad time to get held out of the score sheet. And he had a couple of great opportunities too, most notably in the 18th minute when Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles absolutely robbed him with a spectacular kick save.
But McInerney said he still thought he had a “pretty good performance,” as the 20-year-old striker made some sharp passes and won a few tough balls up top during the Union’s comprehensive win.
His coach agreed.
“Today, unfortunately, wasn’t his day to find the back of the net,” Union manager John Hackworth said. “But he did a lot of work for everybody on the team and was huge for us.”
If McInerney does get called in, Hackworth knows it would be a big blow to his team’s offense. But on Sunday, Conor Casey – McInerney’s partner up top – helped ease some of those concerns with an impressive two-goal effort.
Reserve striker Antoine Hoppenot, who may be asked to start in place of McInerney, added the club’s third goal.
“Jack’s been on fire all year,” Casey said. “It’s good for some of the other guys to kind of get in there and take the load off him. It’s good for a lot of different reasons.”
Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at email@example.com.