So long Jack McInerney, we hardly knew you.
Reports today from ESPNFC.com suggest that Columbus Crew SC fans have seen the last of the forward the club acquired last fall, or at least the last of him in the black and gold.
Jeff Carlisle reports that Crew SC are set to trade McInerney's rights to the MLS Cup Champion Portland Timbers in exchange for allocation money. Carlisle's source did not specify whether the funds would be regular allocation money or targeted allocation money, funds that can only be used to sign a player earning more than the maximum salary budget charge.
McInerney was trade to Columbus from the Montreal Impact last August in exchange for the Black & Gold's natural second-round 2016 MLS SuperDraft pick. He played in five games with Crew SC, scoring two goals and registering one assist.
The forward's contract expired at the conclusion of the 2015 season, but head coach Gregg Berhalter listed McInerney as someone in which the club was in negotiations.
According to the numbers released by the MLS Players Union last July, McInerney had a 2015 base salary of $275,000 and a guaranteed compensation of $334.166.67. Columbus did not have to pay all of that last year due to him beginning the season with Montreal.
Considering he was the backup striker to Kei Kamara, who tied for the league lead with 22 goals, it was always believed McInerney would need to take a significant pay cut to return to Crew SC.
The Timbers, who lost forward Maximiliano Urruti in the re-entry draft, must be willing to offer more than the Black & Gold, despite also having a starting forward in Fanendo Adi.
While it should not be a surprise that McInerney is departing after a short stint in Columbus, it does leave the Black & Gold in a precarious position.
While Kamara will return in 2016, Crew SC is without a backup striker as fifth-year pro Aaron Schoenfeld is out of contract as well. Schoenfeld was also one of the players the club was negotiating with, but he has recently been linked with a move to Israel.
Columbus does have five picks in the upcoming SuperDraft, including two in the top 21, but the draft has not been kind to the Black & Gold in recent years, especially when it comes to forwards.
With McInerney out the door, Berhalter may step up the negotiations with Schoenfeld. Otherwise, Crew SC will need to look elsewhere to find a suitable backup to the 31-year old Kamara, who likely can't play another 32-game season.