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Union cut ties with Gutierrez, Eskandarian

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union have cut ties with scouting chief Diego Gutierrez and youth director Alecko Eskandarian.

A team spokesperson confirmed Sunday that Gutierrez and Eskandarian are no longer with the team but declined to give further details. Biographies of both men have been removed from the team web site.

Union manager John Hackworth is scheduled to hold a news conference Monday at 1:30 p.m.

Brendan Burke, the Union’s reserve team coach, will take a more prominent role with the Union as an assistant coach, the spokesperson said. Burke also serves as the head coach of Reading United, the Union’s PDL affiliate.

Gutierrez had played a significant role behind the scenes since joining the Union in December 2010. As player personnel director, he was responsible for creating the club’s pipeline to Colombia, Costa Rica and Panama that led to signings of Carlos Valdes, Lionard Pajoy, Gabriel Gomez, Josue Martinez, and Porfirio Lopz, as well as Gutierrez’s former Chicago Fire teammate, Bakary Soumare.

Gutierrez, a former Chicago Fire defender, had become a player agent after retiring from professional soccer in 2008. He used the contacts acquired in that role and transitioned to a position as the Union’s key player personnel executive.

Previously, Gutierrez had been a teammate of former Union manager Peter Nowak, who brought Gutierrez in after the club’s first season. Nowak was fired as Union manager in June.

Eskandarian also had ties to Nowak prior to joining the Union staff in June 2011 as youth technical director, having played for Nowak with D.C. United. He was forced to retire in 2009 at age 27 due to concussions.

Since being named interim team manager, Hackworth has led the team to a 1-2-0 record in league play, as well as a quarterfinal win in the U.S. Open Cup.

18 Comments

  1. MikeRSoccer says:

    Ouch. Gutierrez hurts. There’s the post Nowak exodus we were afraid of. Hopefully the Union already have their summer wish list lined up.

    • Really? It was getting disconcerting that it seemed like a requirement of our foreign signings was a prior business or personal relationship with Gutierrez.

      • MikeRSoccer says:

        It’s hard to argue with results and in a relatively short period of time he found an all star goalie, one of the best CB’s in the MLS, our leading goal scorer this season in Gomez, and was able to convince Soumare to take a 50% pay cut. Yes, Pajoy and Lopez have not been that great, but even so most of his signing have been successful. More importantly though doesn’t it seem unwise to enter the transfer window of what could be one of your most important seasons ever without a head scout?

        • I don’t know mike, I find it pretty easy to argue with the results. Mondragon was an aging goalie who quite afeter a year, forcing us to start his backup. Gomez is only leading the team in scoring because our offense built with his imported talent was the 2nd worse offense in the mls. The phrase “so most of his signings have been successful” is hilarious. Maybe you need more math courses.

          • Just FYI –Mondragon did not quit. He was forced out by Nowak. The whole “wanting to return to his home club” was BS. He was very happy with the family situation in Philly and sad that they had to leave.

    • I also can’t say that I’m sad to see Gutierrez go. He seemed very much like a Nowak-crony to me, and some of his signings really made you question just why the team were acquiring said player.

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  3. philsoc8 says:

    Ironically, only Soumare is a a Gutierrez-linked deal that I’m excited about, and one seemed the most personal. I’m very interested to hear what Hack has to say on this.

    I’m not surprised to see Eskandarian go. He seemed like a good guy in the “bro” sense, but his job was youth development and can anyone really say that the young players have done much developing under his watch?

    • Sean Doyle says:

      I’m more surprised to see Alecko go because his involvement with the Union was on the academy level. He didn’t have much of a role with the Union first team. Good guy, great sense of humor but was definately a Nowak guy. Would be ashame to lose his talents strictly on basis of his connection to Nowak.

  4. Interesting moves. I can see how Gutierrez would have fallen out of favor once he lost Nowak’s “protection”. Alecko, I don’t really know him from Adam. I’m sure there are plenty of guys who can fill that kind of role. At the very least, they need someone to be an assistant to Hackworth in case he’s suspended or otherwise unable to manage.

  5. JediLos117 says:

    Im glad this happened…He was the beginning of the end for Nowak…the underlying issue if you will. Another good move by the FO.

    • Jon Tannenwald says:

      I call on the writers of PSP to be more responsible.

      You should not post a story that you do not run by me first. Otherwise I will take Twitter shots at you.

      You should not rely on “official” sources. Don’t you know that Keith and Vito are the only official sources, beyond crappy video I shoot on my handheld?

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