Jack McGlynn shows "God-given" talent with first Philadephia Union goal

Jack McGlynn’s first-ever goal for the Philadephia Union is one he won’t soon forget.

The 19-year-old midfielder bent home a stunning free kick in Saturday’s 6-0 rout of Houston Dynamo FC, beating goalkeeper Michael Nelson’s dive just before the halftime whistle.

He later added an assist on fellow homegrown prospect Quinn Sullivan’s goal that sealed the scoreline at Subaru Park, capping a performance that encapsulates his rise for the Eastern Conference leaders.

“I’ve talked about how special his left foot is. You can’t teach that. It’s God-given and it’s a talent that not many people possess,” said head coach Jim Curtin afterward.

“But for a young kid to step up in that spot … that’s the perfect spot to hit a free kick because it’s in the middle, so now the goalkeeper has to respect both sides. You can tell where their wall was set up, where Jack was going to try to go with it, and he hit a perfect free kick.”

DP striker Mikael Uhre joined the postgame praise after bagging a brace, remarking “I can’t really explain how good of a left foot Jack really has.” That followed a night where McGlynn went 34-of-38 on passing, went 4-of-5 in duels and more than admirably filled into Philadelphia’s midfield for the suspended Jose Martinez, taking a shuttler role in their diamond formation.

McGlynn’s first MLS goal also comes roughly a month after helping the United States U-20 men’s national team book a FIFA U-20 World Cup spot for 2023 and a Summer Olympics spot for 2024. He was one of four Union homegrowns shining down in Honduras at the Concacaf Championship, and he’s parlayed that form into Philadelphia’s Supporters’ Shield chase.

For the kid originally from New York City, amid all the positive strides, the free-kick goal is a long time coming.

“I practice them basically every day after training,” said McGlynn, who’s now played just over 1,000 MLS minutes. “All the guys know I’m capable of hitting it, so they gave me the opportunity. Thank God it went in. It’s about time I scored.”

McGlynn has strung together three straight starts for Philadelphia, a club with a highly-regarded youth system that’s recently pumped out USMNT players like attacker Brenden Aaronson and defender Mark McKenzie, as well as defender Auston Trusty. Aaronson (Leeds United) and Trusty (Arsenal) are both at Premier League clubs, while McKenzie (Genk) is in Belgium.

That’s not to say McGlynn will surely follow in their footsteps, but Curtin’s bullish on the midfielder’s potential in the short and long-term.

“His composure is special for a kid as young as he is,” Curtin said. “He’s clever enough to get out of a tight spot with that left foot too. You sprint at him, he has a couple outs in his game to get away from pressure. Then if they do lay off him, he’s able to play that ball in behind. So he’s able to hurt you in a lot of different ways.”