Jack McInerney excited for fresh slate, not quite sure what to expect after trade to Columbus Crew SC

Jack McInerney didn’t expect to be moving back to the States.

In the wake of Didier Drogba’s MLS arrival, the soon-to-be 23-year-old was traded from the Montreal Impact to Columbus Crew SC on Tuesday in exchange for a 2016 MLS SuperDraft second round pick. And while some rumblings suggested that McInerney – whose birthday is on Wednesday – wanted out of Montreal, the striker presented a different picture.

“I wasn’t hoping or expecting really anything,” he told reporters in a conference call Tuesday. “I thought, with the new players Montreal has brought in, they would have to move someone. I was told someone would probably be moving, but I didn’t think it would be me.

“I didn’t think I was going to be the one they were considering. At the end of the day it’s part of the business and I understand it. I’m excited to be joining the Crew now.”

McInerney played in 43 matches league matches since moving from Philadelphia to the Impact last April, scoring 11 goals. He was a major contributor in Montreal’s run to this year’s CONCACAF Champions League final, scoring three goals – including one each in the second leg of the semifinals and final – in five CCL appearances.  

He says he’s “not too sure what to expect” under head coach Gregg Berhalter in Columbus, where he knows he’ll be behind league leading scorer Kei Kamara.

“I just want to come here and help the team win and score goals,” he said. “Obviously Kei has had a great season and the team is doing pretty well. So I’m just excited to be a part of it all. I talked to Gregg a little bit and he said he’s excited for me to be here. That alone gets my hopes up.”

Berhalter sees his new striker as a change-of-pace from the large forwards on the roster in Kamara, Aaron Schoenfeld and Adam Bedell.

“We haven’t felt like there was enough diversity in the attack,” he said. “What I mean by that is production. We have five guys that have scored goals this year. We want more.”

McInerney says he’s familiar with Crew SC. He “hated playing against them” because of their physical style, but is looking forward to being a part of their free-flowing attack. And more than anything, the change represents a fresh start for the still-developing striker, who’s now working on his third team in 16 months.

“Any time you’re going to go to a new team, you’re almost just refreshed; it’s a new slate,” he said. “You can go out there and everyone is going to look at your previous performances with other teams, but at the end of the day you’re with new players and it’s going to be a different style.”

Berhalter said McInerney will be in Columbus as early as Tuesday night, will train Thursday and will be “ready for Colorado” when the team travels to face the Rapids this Saturday (9 pm ET, MLS LIVE).