Over the past two weeks, some speculation over Jack McInerney's role on the Montreal Impact has surfaced. Even in the face of several injuries, head coach Frank Klopas hinted towards alternative options instead of the American forward in the starting XI, even though McInerney is one of the last true, healthy strikers. In build up to the May 24 home game, McInerney rebutted with the statement, "If they don't want to keep me on the field, that's not my problem." When Saturday's 8pm tilt against league-leading FC Dallas came around, Klopas and Co. elected to keep him on the pitch. And boy, was that the right call.
Jack Mac's textbook give and go with Ignacio Piatti in the 50' minute turned out to be the decisive goal in earning the Impact three points and a ticket out of the Eastern Conference basement. What the roughly 13,000 fans huddled in Stade Saputo saw was a fine finish, one that reflects Jack Mac’s ability on the field. He is a natural goal scorer with a nose for the net and that is invaluable to a team who had only scored 3 goals through their first five MLS games and are only beginning to find their league form.
Reports have recently emerged questioning McInerney’s work ethic on the training ground. Whether this is how Klopas feels or a story the media has churned up is unknown. The striker referred to these allegations as, "BS." However in professional sports, what happens on the game field holds much more weight than what happens on the practice one and Jack Mac has produced plentiful for the Bleu-Blanc-Noir thus far. His 2014 Canadian Championship Golden Boot paved the way for the Impact’s historic Champions League run and he has already tallied one more in the 2015 edition, tying him for second all-time in tournament history. Forgive me for this but to quote Allen Iverson, "We’re talking about practice."
One of the reasons why McInerney needs to be a staple player in Klopas’ XI is because of his killer instinct around goal. Just like a shark smells blood in the water, number 99 senses opportunities around the net. His stunning one timer in the suffocating heat of Alajuela, Costa Rica, and his sensational chip over Ricketts at the Big O were just two examples of his scoring talent in early 2015. People tend to forget he is only 22 since he has been around the league for a while, already having scored 25 goals in just over four seasons for the Philadelphia Union before arriving in Montreal. Beyond that he potted two goals in four games for the Stars and Stripes at the 2009 edition of the U-17 World Cup. He is a young talent and seems to be on track to become a member of Jurgen Klinsmann’s squad in future fixtures after already establishing himself in the youth level of international play and in his early MLS years.
Furthermore, and what has been touched upon earlier by members of this site as well as other media outlets is the growing connection between McInerney and Nacho Piatti. The Argentine, who is sometimes oblivious of his teammates, has struck up a blossoming relationship with Jack Mac on the field. This was on full show Saturday night with the American and Argentine seeking each other out time and time again. Both acknowledged this in post-game comments.
With a big in conference match up looming this Saturday at Chicago, Jack Mac’s position in the line up will be worth paying attention to. Whether Klopas will add any further acquisitions to the striker role to provide depth is yet to be determined, but he and the media should try not to alienate McInerney. I have faith in the attacker’s ability and with the thin options we have, there isn’t much of a choice. Jack Mac can score, has scored, and will score. And if we don’t want him to do that for us, he gladly will for someone else.