Jack McGlynn delivers in penalty kicks to send Philadelphia Union into conference final

The stakes could not have been any higher for Philadelphia Union’s Jack McGlynn in Sunday’s MLS Cup Playoff match.

The 18-year-old stepped up to the line with a chance to give his team a 2-0 lead in penalty kicks, putting the Union just one save away from the Eastern Conference Final if he scored. And the teenager delivered.

McGlynn buried a low shot into the bottom left corner of the net, as Nashville SC goalkeeper Joe Willis dove the opposite direction. 

After McGlynn scored, he pointed towards the veins in his right arm, an “ice in my veins” celebration. His team agreed that the goal was just as ice cold as McGlynn’s celebration suggested.

“For him to step up in that moment, there’s a word for it that I won’t use in the press conference, but he has brass ones,” head coach Jim Curtin said. “He stepped up in a big spot in a full stadium in an elimination game and calmly goes about it like it’s nothing.”

Curtin sees McGlynn as a future star for the Union, a homegrown talent from the Philadelphia Union Academy already contributing to the MLS club.

“Jack McGlynn has a huge future. I know that a lot of people haven’t seen him play as much as maybe he would like or even the league would like – the same goes for Quinn Sullivan, the same goes for Paxten Aaronson,” Curtin said. “But these kids are going to be really, really special. And a night like tonight only builds confidence for him.”

McGlynn’s teammates were also impressed with his clutch postseason performance. Goalkeeper Andre Blake, who saved two shots in penalties, had high praise for the Queens, New York, native.

​​“He’s a great player. He’s humble, he listens and he wants to learn. He’s very technical. We had no doubt in him,” Blake said. “He shoots every time in training so we know how well he hits the ball and we know that he’s confident. We had no doubt putting him in the top five and he went out there and executed. That’s big-time for us and definitely does a lot for his confidence going forward as well.”