Not all Players of the Week are created equal. Some rounds you get a Clint Dempsey hat trick delivered on a platter. Other weeks you’re left holding slides to the sun trying to see the difference between stars.
The return of Major League Soccer presented that challenge. Coming back after two weeks off, MLS gave us a couple of multi-goal performances (Montréal’s Jack McInerney; Philadelphia’s Sebastien Le Toux), while Dillon Powers gave another glimpse of his bright present and future. Gyasi Zardes was on the end of multiple chances in Palo Alto, Seattle’s midfield duo (Osvaldo Alonso, Gonzalo Pineda) were both strong, and Erick Torres … what more can se say about Cubo Torres?
Ultimately, there wasn’t a clear front-runner for this week’s honor, which is when the little things matter more. For example, say you not only scored twice, helped your team to a win, and set up a couple of chances (or, near-chances), but one of the goals you scored had no business going in. With one inspired moment, you took a pedestrian play and changed the scoreboard, giving your time vital breathing room.
Consider that Jack McInerney’s tiebreaker. His first goal? That’s what forwards are supported to do, especially when opposing defenses don’t both picking them up. Running onto Eric Miller’s first half cross, the Impact forward headed Montréal in front against visiting Houston.
In the second half, though? McInerney had no right scoring, but finding a moment’s inspiration, the former Union striker turned his back on goal to get his foot to the ball, his touch sending an unlikely shot looping inside Tally Hall’s right post, doubling the Impact’s lead:[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8Du5wLUIl8]
Did he mean to do it? Of course. That doesn’t mean he’ll ever be able to do it again, or it was the right choice to begin with. But sometimes distinguishing yourself from the competition means being foolish enough to see the absurd as possible. And every time you watch that Jack McInerney goal, you can’t help but think it’s a little absurd.
What’s the phrase: Crazy like a fox? To paraphrase Napoleon, sometimes the fox is a lion, and on Sunday, Jack McInerney was the king of Stade Saputo. With two goals against the Dynamo, the 21-year-old not only helped his team to a 3-0 victory, he won our Player of the Week honor.