The coming World Cup qualifier down in Jamaica is the big fire sucking all the oxygen from the room right now, domestic soccer media-wise.
But there are a few matches happening on our shores.
You know how we feel about MLS plowing through the stop signs of FIFA fixture dates. We really need to get past this. (And if not, skip to the bottom of the post.)
But it is what it is … and a contest tonight at PPL Park on the outskirts of Philadelphia does include one big reason for checking out. It’s all about Jack McInerney (pictured, on the right).
The league’s leading goal scorer will be the youngest goal scorer in 18 seasons if he keeps the pace. The Union man, just 20 years old, will lead his team tonight against the Columbus Crew.
I know the powers that be would like us all to tap the brakes on “Jack Mac” talk, and don’t disagree that all the hulabaloo is probably not ideal for impressionable young minds. If someone would have told 20-year-old me that I was all that, there is a 100 percent chance I would have believed them.
But this is the business, and there is no way to avoid picking up the figurative bullhorn and ensuring everyone knows about this young man with such pure striker’s instinct, with a league-leading 10 goals and a league-leading five-game winners.
Tonight will be a worthy test for McInerney, although Columbus is still adjusting to the loss of do-all midfielder Eddie Gaven, out for the year with knee injury. Even then, Robert Warzycha’s team is always so well organized through the midfield and on defense that anything Philadelphia pushes past the men in yellow and quality netminder Andy Gruenebaum will surely be well-earned.
At 3-2-2, Columbus is one of the better road teams in MLS.
Tonight’s match kicks off Week 15 in Major League Soccer, a mercifully abbreviated schedule that includes just five matches – although undoubtedly five too many.