There’s been lots of chatter recently about the Galaxy’s sudden acquisition of journeyman forward Jack McInerney, who was claimed from the Portland Timbers after clearing waivers.
To learn more about LA’s new weapon, we decided to ask the experts at Jack’s former club to get an idea about the 5’1O” attacker.
Thanks to Will Conwell at Stumptown Footy for the time.
LAG Confidential: McInerney is only 24 years old but has 43 goals in the league. What kind of attacking threat is Jack Mac?
Stumptown Footy: McInerney is a finisher, pure and simple, and if given time and service he will score goals. Capable of poaching a goal thanks to his more predatory instincts or scoring from distance thanks to a heavy right foot, McInerney is always dangerous when the ball is in the attacking end.
Of course, McInerney might be only 24 years old, but he has been in the league since he was sixteen, joining the Philadelphia Union as a Generation Adidas player back in 2010, and his 43 goals have come over the course of 167 games played. The most goals McInerney has scored in a season is 12 for the Union in 2013, and outside of that season has has averaged a goal every 4.4 games -- a far cry from the likes of Robbie Keane (a goal every 1.5 games) or even Gyasi Zardes (a goal every 3.4 games) who was spent much of his career playing on the wing.
Those are not the numbers of a starting caliber player in MLS, but the talent is certainly still there for McInerney and after spending several years on the bench behind the likes of established No. 1 strikers like Kai Kamara with the Columbus Crew and Fanendo Adi with the Portland Timbers, McInerney might just be able to take advantage of the unsettled state of the Galaxy to reassert himself and make good on the instincts that teams have been hoping to capitalize on for the better part of a decade now.
LAG Confidential: Tell us more about his strengths and weaknesses.
Stumptown Footy: McInerney is, in many ways, a very old-school striker. He knows how to make good contact with the ball in a number of situations and has a track record of scoring goals both in the air and on the ground. He also has a nose for goal, getting into the right spot at the right time with some measure of consistency.
However, while his attacking instincts are on point, it is in the build-up and on the defensive side of the ball that McInerney tends to stumble -- something that limits his ability to adapt to different tactical situations and different formations. Although McInerney has the low-center of gravity to to compete for the ball with center backs larger than he is, he has never been a team's outlet, able to relieve pressure for his side. Similarly, McInerney has rarely shown himself to be the sort of striker who can regularly press high up the pitch, giving opposition back lines trouble when they try to possess the ball.
LAG Confidential: Jack is obviously talented, but the Galaxy will be his 5th team in 6 seasons. Why do you think he's bounced around so much?
Stumptown Footy: There are plenty of reasons that McInerney has failed to find a home since leaving the Union and many of them have been touched upon above and others would be pure speculation.
What we can say, however, is that McInerney's goalscoring record off the bench over the last several years have been thoroughly average for an option off the bench, while his salary is more in line with a low-end starter in the league. While he is indeed obviously talented, the rapid evolution of MLS since the introduction of Targeted Allocation Money has seen the introduction of a new class of players into the league that have only made it more difficult for a player like McInerney to make the jump into a team's starting XI, particularly when he does appear to be an imperfect fit for many of modern soccer's more prevalent philosophies.
Thanks again to Stumptown Footy.