Union has high expectations as training camp begins

The Union's Sebastien Le Toux will be among the key returning members of the Union defense in 2014. Credit: Getty Images The Union’s Sebastien Le Toux will be among the key returning members of the Union offensive attack in 2014. Credit: Getty Images

For Union players, this season is about washing away the bitter taste which was left in their mouths back in October.

After narrowly missing the playoffs on the last game of the season, the Union are pushing to make it back to the postseason this year. One of the clubs primetime scorers, Jack McInerney, looks to build upon the experience he gained last year.

“Obviously our main goal is to get this franchise back to the playoffs,” said McInerney. “I think with the experience we’ve gained and the group we’ve assembled, we have a really good shot this year.

There are some new and exciting faces on the roster such as goaltender and No. 1 pick Andre Blake, who hopes to gain some experience working under talented netminder Zac MacMath. McInerney sees a bright future ahead for Blake.

“I think Andre’s been learning a lot under Zac,” said McInerney. “It’s great to see that fire lit under Zac and you can tell he’s really playing at a higher level right now in practice. I think Andre’s a really great guy and he definitely fits into our team’s chemistry so far.”

Another big offseason acquisition was defensive midfielder Maurice Edu. Edu has logged 45 caps for the U.S. national team. He’s also played three years for the Scottish Club team Glasgow Rangers, winning three Scottish Premier League titles. He was named the 2007 MLS Rookie of the Year.

He’ll be looked at to replace some of the leadership and production lost from the departure of centerback Jeff Parke, who was traded to D.C. United last month.

“Losing Jeff is tough,” said McInerney. “He wasn’t just a great defender, but our captain and vocal leader as well. To lose a guy like that puts everyone in the position to become a bigger leader. Guys like Amobi [Okugo], Sheanon [Williams] and Maurice will need to step up this year and replace his production both on and off the field.”

For an already exciting young team, adding these great new pieces might be all it takes for the club to reach new heights. McInerney is excited about the possibilities and is hopeful about the upcoming season.

“We love the fact that we’ve grown together,” said McInerney. “We’re hungry to take our games to the next level. We’re young, but we all have unique skills. We all know what we need to do to be successful at this point in our careers and I think we’ve added some strong pieces to help us out this year.”

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