It hasn’t exactly been the production that they’d hoped when they acquired forward Andrew Wenger in a trade for Jack McInerney back in April, but Sunday proved as an example what they’re hoping he can provide for the team the rest of the season.
Wenger struck twice in a 4-2 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes (6-7-1) as the Union (7-9-9) sit just three points out of third place in the Eastern Conference.
Wenger registered just his second start since May 17, but took advantage immediately by netting a goal in the 10th minute. He capped off his night in the 79th minute, blowing by defenders and squeezing through a nifty strike past the left post before Earthquakes goalie Jon Busch could react. Manager Jim Curtin hopes that mentally his performance will give him confidence moving forward.
“He’s a special player who just needs confidence,” Curtin said. “And a night like tonight certainly gives a guy confidence. He’s really learned how to play the position. It’s been a little unique for him to be out wide on the wing, but he’s starting to grasp some of the defensive responsibilities and that’s leading to his goals.”
It was the first time in Wenger’s career that he was able to net two goals in one game. Through his first 18 games with the Union, he only found the back of the net twice. It was a sigh of relief for Wenger, who was battling cold-like symptoms throughout the game, and he can breathe a little easier in the final stretch of the season.
“I’m enjoying it,” Wenger said of his Man of the Match night. “With the pass or shot, I’m trying to be a little bit more precise there at times. That’s where the challenge is. This [game] was important, but as I was saying, it’s just one at a time. You just try and get as many wins as possible and keep things rolling.”
The team will get a week off before facing Toronto FC on Wednesday, September 3. The game will air at 7 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet.