The case for Corey Hertzog
September 5, 2012
This Saturday, a Metro player will have a chance to lead his team to the league title. Sadly, the game has nothing to do with the current Metro team. On Saturday, Corey Hertzog will lead the Wilmington Hammerheads in the USL PRO title game.
Hertzog was loaned to Wilmington in late May. Since then, he has set the minor league on fire. In 17 matches, Hertzog scored nine goals (third in the league -- the leader had two more goals in seven more games) and added five assists (also third in the league). The past weekend he scored two more in the semifinals to lead the underdog Hammerheads into the championship game.
Meanwhile, "Clever" Hans Backe keeps scratching his head as far as offensive substitutions are concerned.
We're not saying that Hertzog will be a good MLS player; in fact we have absolutely no idea. He did come off an excellent college career at Penn State, and last year was deemed worthy enough to earn a Generation adidas contract. But his playing time with Metro was limited to five garbage time appearances last year, plus two starts in the Open Cup. This year, he hasn't sniffed the field before going on his loan.
But every time Hertzog got the chance, he kept scoring. His four goals during the 2011 preseason led the team. In his two seasons (including limited action this year), he has scored six for the reserves to lead all players. He even has a first-team goal, a plucky rebound in the Open Cup triumph over FC New York last year.
Of course, none of this means much. And minor league prowess doesn't exactly lead to major league success, especially when one looks at Jhonny Arteaga, who led the same USL PRO in goals last year. The same Jhonny Arteaga who was given a chance this year -- two games in the Open Cup alongside the first team -- and failed miserably, turning in two vomit-worthy performances. But at least he was given a chance.
And yet Hertzog, four years younger than Arteaga, Hertzog, a year removed from his last Metro start (and in a game Backe cared so little about he didn't bother coaching), Hertzog, who has scored on every level he has played at, has never been given that chance. And no, there is no reason why he should start over the trio of experienced forwards, but there is also no reason why he couldn't be used off the bench in late-game situations. Hertzog should return to the team after this weekend, and maybe, just maybe, Backe will have a change of heart.
But we're not holding our breath.