Jack McGlynn is a 19-year-old midfielder who plays for the Philadelphia Union. McGlynn is the latest in a long line of successful Philadelphia Union academy graduates. Mcglynn turned professional in 2020, mostly playing for Philadelphia’s reserve team and making occasional MLS cameos. This season was the first time he played significant first-team minutes and, man, he looks really good. McGlynn has been capped significantly at youth level by the United States.
The highlight of McGlynn’s game is his passing ability. He is incredibly proficient at progressing the ball and at playing out of tight situations. He is the sort of player who always seems to have time on the ball. He often comes deep to receive the ball and dictate the tempo. I think it says a lot about his confidence that he always wants to drive the play. You might reasonably expect a 19-year-old playing on one of the league’s top teams to be a bit anxious and deferential to more experienced players. But McGlynn plays like he has been there forever. His passing game is not limited to the build-up. Mcglynn is very involved in the final 3rd. He is very good at playing balls in behind the defence and setting up teammates. He managed 3 assists this past season and ranked near the top in shot-creating actions and expected assists per 90 minutes. He also shoots quite a lot and is always a danger from free kicks.
Other aspects of his game are not quite as outstanding, though that’s not necessarily to say that he offers nothing else. His dribbling and ball-carrying ability are solid, though not on the level of his passing. His technical ability is strong but he doesn’t really have the physical traits to blow past opponents. His defensive contributions are also quite limited. He does not make many tackles and is pretty easily bypassed by attackers. I think his slight frame and lack of speed play a role in this but his defensive awareness is not great either. This is something he will have to improve significantly if he is going to reach the highest level of the game.
Despite some shortcomings, I think McGlynn is clearly one of the best prospects in MLS right now, and certainly the best young midfielder. I think he could easily make the jump to a country like Belgium or the Netherlands right now, though he will probably stay in Philadelphia for at least one more season (indeed that might be what’s best for him). provided he improves his defensive game, he certainly has the potential to reach a top 5 league.