In a return to Philly, Union manager Hackworth hoping it's go time for Wenger and offense alike

Hackworth eager to see what Wenger can do with fresh start

Wenger celebration with MTL

Photo Credit: 
USA Today Sports Images

The Philadelphia Union are always preparing for their next match.

They also have an eye on the future just like every other club in Major League Soccer.

This was part of the genesis of an intriguing trade announced on Friday which sent forward Jack McInerney to the Montreal Impact for Andrew Wenger. Ironically, Wenger played at PPL Park last Saturday and was actually red-carded as the Impact and Union played to a 1-1 draw.

  • Click the graphic to see Wenger and the Union against Real Salt Lake, April 12!

Wenger is a former member of the Union’s PDL affiliate Reading United and a Lancaster native. He spent the past two seasons with the Impact after being the first overall selection in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft.

The trade just so happened to take place before the Union’s fifth match and the Union decided to move forward.

“It is one of those days that just this business requires,” Union manager John Hackworth said on a conference call Friday shortly before the club was scheduled to travel to Chicago for Saturday’s match against the Fire. “You do not ever like to see one of those you have to make in order for your game to be professional, but if you believe you are doing the right things, you have to do it.  We want to wish Jack well and everything he does in the future, but at the same time we are excited to get like Andrew Wenger, who we think can be really good for us, not only now but long term.”

The 23-year-old Wenger played three at Duke before being taken No. 1 overall. Wenger had six career goals and three assists for the Impact.

Hackworth said that Wenger will play forward for the Union.

“Right now it is a straight swap, forward for forward,” Hackworth said. “He is more of a prototypical No. 9 than Jack was and that is where we first see him.  He is versatile enough which we really like. I think we could literally put him at all but left or right or drop him into the midfield.  I watched him for a long time, I know when he was a youth player, he was a fantastic center midfielder.  When he first got to college, he was a defender of the year in the ACC at centerback and move him up front, he was the ACC player of the year as a forward.  He is a good soccer player, we see him as a forward for us and he brings a lot of versatility.”

Hackworth made sure to address the fact that the timing of the trade had nothing to do with any disappointment in McInerney’s progress.

It just happened to develop now.

“There is no desperation on our part,” Hackworth said. “We weren’t disappointed with the way Jack was playing. We clearly have an idea of where we want to go and the type of players we want to bring in the future. We felt like this is a move that was going to improve that. It’s as simple as that. We still have guys on our roster currently that we feel are good players. Some of them are coming off injuries and will get opportunities. We feel like we have performed well in this early part of the year, but it’s a marathon and we want to be prepared for the long haul. There is no sense of desperation on our end at all.”

Once Wenger becomes comfortable with his new teammates with the Union, time will tell how he fits in.

“I think his skill set and what he brings to the team and just his work ethic alone is going to give him a good opportunity here in Philly, and hopefully one given that opportunity he will make the most of and mesh well and help us hopefully he gets the results we desire,” Hackworth said.

What do you think about the acquisition of Wenger? Leave a comment below.

Contact Union writer Andy Jasner at andy.jasner@yahoo.com