FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Jack McInerney has burst onto the national scene early in the 2013 season with six goals – including four in his last three games – to catapult to the top of the MLS scoring charts.
But New England Revolution fans have long known about the young Philadelphia Union forward, who has notched the game-winning goal in each of the Revolution’s last three losses to the Union. Most recently, McInerney scored the only goal in New England’s 1-0 loss on March 16 at PPL Park.
Considering his history against the Revs and current form in the league, it’s no surprise that McInerney will be a key focus for the Revolution’s backline when the Union visits Gillette Stadium on Saturday night. The method in which McInerney punishes teams, however, is surprisingly unique.
“The reason why Jack is so dangerous is because the less he’s involved, the more dangerous he is,” said Revolution head coach Jay Heaps. “He doesn’t average a ton of touches, but when he gets them, they’re dangerous. He’s not someone you mark out of the game. He could be on the opposite side of the ball and he just kind of sneaks in and finds the areas to be in.”
McInerney has also proven his aerial ability against the Revolution, as all three of his recent game winners have originated from crosses which he won in the air. Further proving Heaps’ point, McInerney has registered a total of just four shots on target in those three games combined, but has still managed to notch three goals.
Past experience might suggest the Revs would seek to make McInerney their center of attention on Saturday night – and they will focus on him to a point – but Heaps cautioned against keying too much on a single player.
“He’s very dangerous and someone that you have to be very cautious of and always have an eye of where he is,” said Heaps. “But if you over-mark him, then you’re going to open the door for someone else and that’s why he’s as dangerous as he is.”