Out of the blue Andrew Wenger is a valuable asset to this Union team. The hustle and bustle that made him a stereotypical Hackworth guy has been replaced with a constant threat on goal in the Curtin era. He has supplanted Danny Cruz on the left wing and gives it all he has game in and game out (much like Cruz, but with a little more finesse than the bulldozer mentality of our favorite sweaty guy).
When the trade was initially made, we had lost. Jack Mac was scoring Jack Mac style goals and Wenger was looking like a wet piece of bread on the field. Now that Wenger is showing his true worth, did the Union win the McInerney/Wenger trade?
I invited the Brotherly Game staff to offer their opinions and without fail they supplied them. Let's take a look.
Eugene Rupinski - Yes. Wenger has been productive lately, but more importantly hasn't been a cancer in the locker room. The Union won big time in that trade.
JC Escobar - No question, to me JacMac was always overrated. Wenger, even if he's still not a world beater, is much more versatile.
Andrew Stoltzfus - Too early to really tell. Individually JMac is probably a better player, but Wenger has filled more of a need. Union are also a better team than Montreal.
Jared Young - The jury is still out. First of all, you have to wonder if the Union could have gotten more for young "USMNT hopeful" striker. Jack hasn't been lighting it up in Montreal, but they are a poor side and at the time of the trade Jack was considered to have a bright future ahead of him. Wenger has been excellent in the last few games but was not making an impact before San Jose. I'd say if Wenger is still here next year and contributing in this way, then the Union will have won the trade.
Heather Reppert - I'm still unsure. In terms of overall athleticism and attitude? Yes. In terms of ability to score goals? I don't know. He has just started recently to really get hot. If he can continue his form through the remaining season and help us get into the playoffs (as he has been doing), then I'll feel comfortable saying yes. I just hope Conor Casey is taking him under his wing and he utilizes the opportunity to learn from him.
William Murphy - They traded a specialist for a utility man. In a team of utility men, Wenger appears the better fit. I still can't help but feel like they gave up something that isn't as easy to replace.
Nicholas Youngstein - It's not a linear relationship, though. If Casey and Le Toux were not scoring the way they have been, then we'd miss Jack a lot more. The best aspect of the trade was that it allowed Union to put Cruz on the bench.
Matt Ralph - I liked the trade when it happened and like it even more with Wenger playing better, especially since it's kept Danny Cruz off the field. Long term it's still hard to say who got the better end of the deal but short term Philadelphia is the clear winner.
Barry Evans - Wenger played well against San Jose, and started to go back to his poor performances since. I think that's as much on the poor quality of players he was up against than his ability. His decision making is still iffy, and i don't think he has that important knack of being in the right place at the right time. I am still not sure he should ever be a starting quality player, but decent bench option. Jack on the other hand has that ability to score, and has far more potential. There's a reason you pay money for goalscorers - it isn't that easy. He has the chance to be a special player for the US and whoever he plays for. While his "attitude on the field" rubs people the wrong way, i see no problem with it. If it is doing thing off the field however, then that's a different problem. Young quality players with attitude need to be handled correctly, and i don't think that Jack was handled well by the staff. That means the best course of action for all parties was to replace Jack. Where the FO made a mistake was making more out of Wenger than he is - which is a good solid sub that can come on in a number of different positions and try hard. I would therefore say the Union will never win or lose this trade, it's never going to be quantifiable.
There was never anything reassuring about the trade for Andrew Wenger. During an off season where the Union adding anything and everything they could to make their team better, the one spot missing was striker. Jack McInerney and Conor Casey scored 22 goals combined last year and the rest of the team fell woefully short in help the two striker duo out. So when April rolled around and the Union decided to trade McInerney away, expectations for a player with his caliber were high. The name Andrew Wenger was not reassuring. Definitely not by itself.
Now don't get me wrong I have never had anything against Wenger. I knew Jack had become a problem child on this team due to lack of help in the attacking third and his supposed primped and pampered attitude off the pitch. A trade was really the only solution for a guy most likely leaving after the season ended.
At the onset of the player swap it would seem that Wenger brought something Jack didn't have: other dimensions to his game. Jack is one of the best poachers in MLS. He is always in the right place at the right time, but he doesn't seem to possess much else to make him the dynamic striker the Union needed. Andrew Wenger will never be a prolific goalscorer but there is certainly a jack of all trades feel to him. Not the best finisher, not the fastest guy, nor is he the biggest, but Wenger is definitely a player who will get by.
Looking at the stats at the moment Andrew Wenger has 5 goals and 4 assists in 1241 minutes played this season with Philadelphia. Now I will say a lot of that has come from this recent run of his in the past 3 games (3 goals scored), but Wenger's production with the Union has exceeded his production with Montreal over two years (6 goals, 3 assists in 1962 minutes). Something about how the Union have utilized him is certainly making a difference. The difference really occurs when Jim Curtin takes over. In 11 games under Curtin, Wenger has scored 4 times and assisted on 3 goals.
McInerney on the other had is playing on a much worse team. While scoring 6 goals so far with Montreal is fine (especially behind Marco Di Vaio), he has yet to register an assist. He's scored in Jack Mac fashion, but a goal is a goal and even some of Andrew Wenger's haven't been so pretty.
Its easy to say that the trade was a win for the Union, being in playoff position as well as vying for the US Open Cup. Montreal are not playing very well, but if you look at it they have won the Canadian Championship and are currently playing in the CONCACAF Champions League for the second straight year. So it's hard for me to say who won.
Maybe I'll revisit this question after the season.