On April 4, 2014 the Philadelphia Union traded Jack McInerney for Andrew Wenger. At the time McInerney was fresh off a 2013 season that included a MLS All-Star appearance, a USMNT call-up and was in the running for the MLS Golden Boot. That same season also included a 14 game goalless streak that started before, and continued well after his call-up to the USMNT roster.
Andrew Wenger, was experiencing his own difficulties with the Montreal Impact. The former number one overall pick in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft had thus far failed to live up to expectations, scoring only six times in his time with the Impact. Despite his unique blend of size, speed, and strength, Wenger struggled to get consistent minutes playing behind DP striker Marco Di Vaio.
So how do these two players compare to one another since the trade took place? I used squawka.com to highlight the differences - or surprising lack thereof - between the two players. I used squawka's player rankings among other features on their website to analyze the two players.
First, Squawka ranks all players in MLS, and I adjusted the comparison time from April 4, 2014 to April 4, 2015. During that time both players were ranked very close to one another. Andrew Wenger was listed at 125, while McInerney was ranked at 128.
So I dug a little deeper and then looked at shot accuracy. As both players are looked upon to contribute heavily to their respective team's attack, this would be an important statistic to compare. This is also where Wenger pulls ahead of McInerney. Wenger was able to register a 51% shot accuracy rating (23 shots on target, 22 off target), while McInerney was 10 points lower at 41% (14 shots on target, 20 shots off target).
Wenger also rated higher in the "average duels won" category which takes into account headed duels, tackles, take-ons, and fouls. Wenger rated higher in headed duels (50% to McInerney's 33%), take-ons (44% to McInerney's 21%), and tackles (58% to McInerney's 46%). The only stat Wenger finished worse was that he fouled other players more than he was fouled himself.
While the two players may be close in the goals category - Wenger had six, McInerney had seven - Wenger tends to be ahead of McInerney in just about every other category. While it is easier to just compare goals and assists and say who is best, Wenger does many of the little things better, the stuff that you may not notice in the heat of the game. These things can help contribute to the overall success of the team and not just individual statistics.
I also polled some of my fellow writers to see what their overall feelings were on the trade now that a year has passed. There was a clear consensus that the move was the right one for the Union at continues to pay off for the team. One of the biggest reasons for this, was the trading McInerney and moving Wenger to the left wing eventually allowed the team to acquire Fernando Aristeguieta. In his brief time with the Union, Fernando looks as though he could be the best striker that this team has ever had.
Wenger's contribution on the left wing can't be understated either. Considering our previous options on the wing consisted of Michael Farfan or Danny Cruz, Wenger represents a step up not only in size and skill, but in potential as well. Wenger may or may not live up to the hype that comes with being a number one overall pick, but at the minimum he has the tools to be a very good player in this league for a long time.
Looking forward, it seems as though this move will continue to benefit the Union. McInerney is still struggling to cement a spot in the starting line up for a Montreal team that finished dead last in the league in 2014. While Wenger continues to be a regular starter in a previously weak position for the Union and offers a positional versatility that few players can.
How do you feel about the trade a year later? Take the poll and leave a comment in the comments section below!