Philadelphia Union's new Andrew Wenger-Conor Casey partnership needs "just a bit of time"
But the pass was just a little behind him and Casey couldn’t get a good shot off early in the second half of the Union’s scoreless draw with the Houston Dynamo this past Saturday.
In many ways, that play was indicative of the still-evolving partnership between Wenger and Casey, the team’s top two attackers.
But after the two started together for the first time over the weekend, Wenger believes the partnership needs “just a bit of time” to spur a Union attack that hasn’t scored from the run of play in their past two games heading into Saturday’s contest against the Montreal Impact at Stade Saputo (4 pm ET; MLS Live).
“He holds the ball fantastically,” Wenger told MLSsoccer.com. “Whenever the ball goes into him, you’re pretty sure it’s going to come back. And I can go in behind and find space.”
It remains to be seen how much Wenger and Casey play together or if the two will mainly platoon at the top of manager John Hackworth’s 4-3-3 formation.
But no matter what the lineup is Saturday, Wenger is excited to return to Montreal just three weeks after the Impact traded him to Philadelphia in exchange for Jack McInerney, noting that “you always want to prove something.”
“I think it was a rough time in Montreal for me personally,” Wenger said. “It clearly didn’t go the way I would have planned it – but then nothing ever goes to plan.”
So far, Wenger has found playing time far easier to come by in Philly than he did during a rough two-plus-year stint in Montreal, having started his first three games for the Union.
And although Wenger hasn’t scored since his Union debut on April 12, Hackworth has been pleased with the production from his new striker, who also has the versatility to play on the wing.
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“It’s still early, but we feel really good about Andrew and his performances,” the Union manager said. “The work is good, he’s putting himself in good positions, he’s fitting into our system really well. He has a great attitude about those things, and I think you’ll see some good things out of him going forward.”
Casey, who was second on the team with 10 goals last season, is also excited about the possibility of playing alongside Wenger as he continues to work his way back from an early-season injury.
“He bring a lot of intelligence and athleticism and we’ve just got to work on building those relationships,” Casey said. “It takes a little bit of time to develop.”
Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.