Photo: Earl Gardner
As I sat through the abysmal second half of the Chicago Fire game, I found myself thinking, “Weren’t the Union supposedly on a summer hot streak not long ago?”
Watching that match on Sunday, it seemed like ages ago that Carlos Valdes netted a heroic late game winner against Montreal or that Jack Mac headed home an improbable air ball to beat New England. In reality, these games weren’t all that long ago at all.
The team that showed up against Chicago looked nothing like the Hackworth-coached teams that had PPL Park in a frenzy in July. This led me to ask the question, “Was the Hackworth magic a short-lived energy boost rather than a long-term solution?”
After having some time to contemplate the question, I’m still unable to come up with a rational answer either way. On the one hand, I find myself thinking there is no way this performance would have happened just a few short weeks ago. But on the other hand I find myself pointing out the lack of a few key starters for Sunday’s match.
So again I am left with the quandary of which problem it truly was that doomed the Union. When comparing the Fire result to Montreal, it seems to me this is a lingering problem rather than a one-time mistake. Only time will tell but unfortunately time is running out.
The part that hit hardest about the Fire loss was the fact that the crowd seemed to be nonexistent for the majority of the second half. It wasn’t a normal loss where people do not want to sing or chant through the second half of a losing effort, but it seemed as though the wind was just taken out of a stadium that had been absolutely rocking throughout the month of July.
This is a dangerous sign for Hackworth, because we all know how ugly it can get in Philly when the masses start grumbling for a managerial change. While most aren’t ready to hop off the Hackworth band wagon just yet, his seat seems to be getting warmer.
I know he is just the interim manager, but would any of us have doubted his appointment as full-time manager after the win over Los Angeles? That question seems laughable at this point, and so I ask you Philly faithful, “Is the Hackworth magic fact or fiction?”