17YR-OLD MCINERNEY MATURE BEYOND HIS YEARS

It was not exactly the way Jack McInerney had envisioned his first career Major League Soccer goal, but he’ll still take it.

Despite being a man down and trailing 3-0 in the second half, Philadelphia Union capitalized on a turnover for the 17-year-old’s first-ever tally. Fred took the loose ball, dribbled through the middle of the field and found McInerney streaking toward the goal. After one quick touch, the first round draft pick in this year's MLS SuperDraft gathered himself and beat Donovan Ricketts in the 84th minute.

The final score displayed a 3-1 Galaxy victory, but this was another major step forward for the talented Philadelphia Union forward.

“Of course, it felt good, but I wish the score had been different,” McInerney said. “Getting my first-ever MLS goal was a great feeling. I’ve had some chances. It felt good to get one through.”

McInerney was the third of three first-round picks in the MLS SuperDraft. Taken at No. 7, McInerney followed Danny Mwanga at No. 1 and Amobi Okugo at No. 6.

McInerney may be young in years but not in experience. He appeared in all four games for the United States in the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup, scoring two goals and helping the squad to the Round of 16. 

Thus far in MLS, McInerney has shown flashes of brilliance.

“I’ve been very impressed with Jack’s skills and work ethic,” said defender Danny Califf. “He plays beyond his years. I think he’s going to be a very good player for a very long time for us.”

Coming in as a rookie, McInerney realized the work that needed to be done. He knew it wasn’t going to happen overnight.

“I think all the guys here are working hard,” McInerney said. “Every game has been a learning experience. I think we’re getting better all the time. We have to learn from our mistakes and keep improving. The technical staff has done a great job preparing us. We’re going to play another tough club on Saturday (Real Salt Lake, 4:00pm ET on 6abc) and we have to be ready and learn from the previous games.

“I think we’re making a lot of progress,” McInerney added. “I think we have a lot of potential on this club. We’ve been on the road a lot and we have come together. We have to keep taking it day by day to improve.”