Defending MLS champs have taken notice to McInerney's prowess
Mike Magee isn’t worried about the race for Major League Soccer’s Golden Boot.
Why? Quite frankly, he doesn’t think his current position on the field will give him the best chance to obtain the coveted title. Magee, customarily an outside midfielder trails only the Union’s Jack McInerney for the league lead in goals.
And while it it’s a nice notion 11 matches into the season – Magee himself will tell you that the likelihood of winning is something he can’t really dwell on.
“Of course it would be cool to win, but perhaps if I played more forward, it would be a little more realistic,” said Magee following the Galaxy’s practice ahead of a Wednesday night showdown at PPL Park (7:30 p.m., purchase tickets). “But from left mid, yeah you aren’t getting many chances.”
He does however feel that if any player had a chance to collect the crown this season, it’s McInerney, the 20-year-old striker who has exploded onto the American soccer landscape this season with an MLS high seven goals, which when broken down amounts to one in every 120 minutes on the pitch.
A goal every two hours of play – with production like that even the defending champions take notice.
“Yeah, it’s great that he’s scoring goals, but it’s not just that,” Magee continued. “He’s fighting for the team and a lot of times he ends up in defensive spots; he’s creating [chances] and it’s good to see in this league. I feel like there has kind of been a void of players like him who come through and understand the game as well as him and just play as a pure striker. It’s good to see [in MLS, but against the Galaxy Wednesday], I hope he takes the night off.”
McInerney has been capturing headlines around the league this season as his knack for being in the right place in the right time has amounted to him leading the offensive charge for a club that has longed for that spark. It’s a trait that has him squarely placed in conversations for U.S. senior men’s national team consideration given the upcoming CONCACAF Gold Cup in July.
One player hoping to make his way back into consideration is Galaxy midfielder Landon Donovan. Once a mainstay in the U.S national team picture, this report from SI.com alleges that U.S. boss Jurgen Klinsmann has decided to leave the midfielder out of his plans for call-ups ahead of a pair of June friendlies and the continuation of qualifiers for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
“Any player that has a chance to play for the national team is always thinking about it and the reality for me is that I have to play well here for the Galaxy,” Donovan said Tuesday at PPL Park. “I can think about it and dream about it all I want, but I can only control what I can control. I can tell you that I will be doing my best to get recalled in.”
As far on his thoughts on a player that MLSSoccer.com compared him to early Wednesday morning?
“I think Jack’s been fantastic, but I also think that [Union forward Conor Casey] has been the unsung hero,” said Donovan. “He does a lot of the dirty work and allows Jack to do what he’s good at…they’ve been dangerous, they are going to be at home and they are coming off a real good win [Saturday against Chicago] so we expect their best.”
Like Magee, Donovan lauded not just McInerney’s on field exploits, but also what they are quietly doing to change the perception of American soccer.
“It’s encouraging for all of us that care about this game,” said Donovan. “He’s scored all types of goals from all different spots on the field in all different ways and he scored a goal against us last year that not many people in this league or in the world can score…you can tell he has something special in front of goal and we are seeing it this year. He just needed his chance; [manager John Hackworth] has given Jack his chance and he’s really seizing it.”
Contact Union writer Kerith Gabriel at email@example.com