But the Philadelphia Union youngster might not be in the position he is if not for the blossoming partnership he’s enjoyed up top with Conor Casey, the veteran target forward that Philly acquired this past offseason.
Since earning his place in the starting lineup following an early-season injury, Casey has added a dimension that Union manager John Hackworth said the team has never had before. And it’s been extremely beneficial to a speedy player like McInerney, who thrives when he can run off big, physical players like Casey and seek out dangerous positions around the net.
“Obviously Jack is getting a lot of credit – well deserved for sure,” Hackworth said. “But Conor is doing a tremendous amount of quality things as a target forward that is allowing not just Jack, but our whole team to play in a way that allows us to be successful.”
The 20-year-old McInerney and the 31-year-old Casey have started together in Philly’s past three games together, and the numbers speak for themselves. McInerney has scored four goals in that span, while Casey has added a goal and two assists.
Perhaps even more telling, the Union haven’t lost in any of those contests.
“We’re both scoring goals and we’re both in good form right now,” McInerney said. “If we can keep this going, I think it will be good. Conor and I are working in practice together. It’s about establishing a good partnership and I think it’s getting there.”
Hackworth said the two players will remain together up top for the foreseeable future since there’s “no sense disrupting something that’s working so effectively.” The question then becomes where that leaves Sébastien Le Toux, the franchise’s all-time leading scorer who was reacquired in the offseason to do what he did for the Union throughout 2010 and 2011: score lots of goals.
Over the past three games, Le Toux has started just once – as an outside midfielder. And in the other two contests, he combined to log 28 minutes.
“It might appear to people that he’s not playing enough,” Hackworth said. “I’m sure Seba feels like he wants to play more. But that’s the sign of a good team when you have depth. He is very important to us. And I expect him to contribute when called upon.”
Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.