Philadelphia claimed Chris Agorsor in a weighted lottery
www.philadelphiaunion.com

Young strikers giving Philadelphia depth up top

In their final game of the 2011 preseason, the Philadelphia Union did something they didn’t do through the entirety of their inaugural 2010 campaign: score five goals.

And while the scoring barrage came in an exhibition against Greek third-division side Hersonissos FC, last week’s 5-0 triumph still gave the Philly coaches plenty of reason for optimism.

For starters, they got a glimpse of just how deep their attacking corps can be as young strikers Jack McInerney and Chris Agorsor (above) netted two goals apiece.

[inline_node:318424]Both McInerney, 19 (at right), and Agorsor, 21, figure to provide Philly with solid goal-scoring options off the bench this season. But while Union fans already know about McInerney, a 2010 SuperDraft first-round pick who netted three goals in limited action in his rookie season, they have yet to watch Agorsor, who came over to Philly last month through the league’s weighted lottery system.

According to Union manager Peter Nowak, Agorsor has shown off his wide array of skills this preseason – but also has things upon which he needs to improve.

“He’s catching up with the tactical part,” Nowak said during a media conference call Wednesday, a day before the Union return to Philadelphia from their two-week camp in Greece. “He wants to be involved in every single play. But he needs to find the time and space so he can use his strength and speed and finishing [ability] – because he’s very good at that.”

It shouldn’t be too surprising that Agorsor is still getting accustomed to Philly’s system. Although he was once one of the top high school prospects in the nation, the Maryland native suffered a serious knee injury in 2008 that derailed his college career at the University of Virginia and slowed down his journey to professional soccer.

“We have another seven months to make it work, but he’s making very good progress so far,” Nowak said.

As for McInerney, the Union manager had nothing but great things to say. The teenager showed his nose for the goal at times last season, and is showing even more of that leading up to the 2011 campaign.

“Really, the last 10 days, he’s been very good from all aspects of the field,” Nowak said. “He’s confident and he’s playing very good football.”

With McInerney and Agorsor coming off the bench, Nowak will certainly have a lot more options when the team trails late in games. And, of course, former MLS MVP Carlos Ruiz will also give the Union a huge scoring boost up top and ease the burden placed on Sebastien Le Toux and Danny Mwanga, the duo that accounted for 60 percent of the team’s goals last season.

“We have the foundation to explore other options,” Nowak said. “I don’t want to limit anybody’s game. If they enjoy the game the way I try to encourage them to enjoy it, everyone will be happy. And I’m sure at the end of the day they will score the goals as well.”