Jack McGlynn's "incredible talent" sends Philadelphia Union through to Conference Semis


Philadelphia Union head coach Jim Curtin often heaps praise on Jack McGlynn's passing ability, and with the stakes ever-so-high Wednesday night, the 20-year-old midfielder showed why.

With a chance to book the Union's spot in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, McGlynn whipped in a smart, low free kick that was re-directed in by teammate Chris Donovan – a lone, 79th-minute goal that proved to be the eventual game-and-series-clincher as Philly topped the 10-man New England Revolution, 1-0, at Gillette Stadium to see out their Round One Best-of-3 series in two games. 

It was the type of delivery that was worthy of winning a tightly-contested match.

“In Kai \[Wagner\]’s absence, Jack was taking the restarts and did a good job for us,” Curtin told reporters post-match. “In the playoffs, when it’s one-play games like that, the restarts can decide things… and we get the goal, and now we move on to the next round, which is good.”

Complete performance

McGlynn, who came in at No. 7 in this year's 22 Under 22 presented by BODYARMOR list, finished the match with the lone assist, connecting on 89.6% of his passes and a game-high five keys passes and 0.56 xG+xA.

In Curtin’s mind, the latter number could’ve been much higher had Philadelphia been more clinical up front.

“Jack is an incredible talent,” said the Union coach. “I think you have heard me talk about how great his left foot is. I think he had five or six really great passes [tonight] that… could’ve been assists or could’ve been really good chances and we didn’t execute.”

Despite his young age, McGlynn has already made a name for himself as a consistent, prolific passer in the league. The US youth international’s ability to thread the needle, pick out through balls, and control the tempo in the middle of the park doesn’t go unnoticed.

However, it’s also his work without the ball that Curtin says has really made strides, evidenced by his ability to help contain one of the league’s most dangerous attackers, on the road, in a pressure-filled environment Wednesday night.

“Jack’s a great player, he’s getting\] better and better too on the defensive side of the ball. \[He\] really showed an improvement. When you get one-on-one and isolated with [Carles Gil, I talked about him trying to force [Gil] to his right foot as much as possible, I think he took that information well, led him to double teams, led him towards help, and did a really good job for us,” said Curtin.

“Great game from him, and he really still is a young player and he’s really thriving and doing well.”

Cincinnati await

A steady and reliable holding midfielder, McGlynn emerged as a key piece of Philadelphia’s midfield this season, surpassing over 1,600 regular-season minutes in 2023 while posting 2g/2a and starting both of the Union’s Audi MLS Cup Playoffs matches so far.

And he’ll continue to be relied upon this postseason as last year’s MLS Cup finalists will visit the Supporters’ Shield winners and No. 1 seed FC Cincinnati in the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Nov. 25 or 26.

After locking down a former MVP in the middle of the park, will McGlynn be able to help contain 2023 Landon Donovan MVP favorite Luciano Acosta and the rest of the Orange & Blue?