CHESTER, Pa. – Much of Jack McInerney’s breakout season has been credited to his blossoming partnership with Conor Casey.
But almost forgotten in the equation is the equally strong relationship McInerney has enjoyed with Sébastien Le Toux so far this year – a relationship that was on full display Saturday evening at PPL Park.
Making his second straight start in place of Casey, Le Toux delivered a perfect cross in the third minute to set McInerney up for his league-leading eighth goal of the season and help the Union pick up a 1-0 win over the Chicago Fire.
“He just knows where to find me, really,” McInerney told MLSsoccer.com. “He plays a lot of good balls in the box. His service was really good today. And his work-rate creates a lot of space for me. I think we’re both kind of similar where we’re pulling guys out wide and creating space for each other, and I think we combined very well today.”
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Despite only starting seven of the team’s 12 games, Le Toux now has four assists on the season, which is tied for the league lead. McInerney scored on three of those four assists, and all of them came in Union wins.
“There were some questions weeks ago about what role Seba would play for our team and I knew at that point that Seba was going to be really important on this team,” Union manager John Hackworth said. “You saw that tonight and you saw that on Wednesday night [against the Los Angeles Galaxy]. His versatility and his work-rate are second to none and the fact that he can play different roles for us and provide those assists is great. I’m really happy for him.”
While McInerney has essentially turned into an a 90-minute player for the Union – as well as one of the league’s top offensive players – Le Toux and Casey have shared duties playing alongside the 20-year-old star. And both have delivered in that role, even though both are very different players.
“Me and Seba kind of have that work-rate where he’s doing a lot of running and I’m trying to sit on top and wait for him to pick one off,” McInerney said. “Conor stays up top and battles the guys and lays balls off. Those are the differences."
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McInerney admitted that he has to change how he plays a little bit based on who he’s partnered with up top. But having two veteran players like that to interchange is a luxury both Hackworth and McInerney have enjoyed– especially when it leads to victories.
“Whoever goes out there,” McInerney said, “is really fun to work with.”
Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.