CHESTER, Pa. — Last Saturday, Jack McInerney was left out of the starting lineup for his second straight game.
One week later, the Philadelphia Union striker matched the franchise record for consecutive games with a goal, scoring in his third straight contest to lift Philly to a 1-0 victory over visiting New England on Saturday.
That’s not exactly the kind of turnaround you see every day, but for McInerney’s teammates and coaches, it hasn’t been much of a surprise.
“I think what you’re seeing right now is a goal-scorer's mentality,” Union manager John Hackworth said. “This is the third game in a row he’s scored and I can’t remember that happening here before. All of these things are good indicators of what we already knew.”
GOAL: McInerney scores the winner
What Hackworth has known all along is that McInerney has an innate poaching mentality and a keen ability to get in the right spot and at the right time, even if he failed to score in nine straight games while getting briefly removed from the Starting XI.
He’s now one of only three players in Union history to have scored in three straight games (Sebastien Le Toux did it twice and Danny Mwanga did it once) and will have a chance to set the club record at four when the Union play next, in two weeks at Houston.
“I was joking around with him after the game like, ‘Yo, what’s the record for most consecutive goal scored,’” fellow franchise original Amobi Okugo said. “I think he can sneak in and try to poach his way to some more goals.”
If he does add more to his goal total before 2012 ends, the Revolution will probably be happy it won’t be against them. McInerney has now headed in game-winners the last two times the Revs have come to PPL Park, with Saturday’s nod coming in the 73rd minute on a cross from Keon Daniel.
“They were kind of almost the same exact goal with me going back post,” McInerney said. “Keon played a great ball and I found myself in a good spot. My confidence is really high right now.”
Perhaps the best part of McInerney’s goal – his seventh of the season – is that he missed a couple of chances to score in the first half. Hackworth said McInerney was “unlucky” not to put the Union up in the first half, but he reminded the 20-year-old not to “get your head down and keep going after it.”
And that’s what he did – for the third straight game.
“[McInerney] had a couple of chances,” midfielder Michael Lahoud said. “But the last time I checked, if you go 1-for-4 as a forward, that’s pretty good.”
Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at email@example.com.