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“Why now? Why not.” Reaction to Hackworth deal, Comcast, more news

Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Philadelphia Union

In case you missed it, on Thursday evening, the Union removed the interim tag from John Hackworth’s job title and named him permanent team manager. More reports on the announcement from PSP, MLSsoccer.com, CSN Philly, The Goalkeeper, The Delco Times, the Daily News, Union Tally, Sporting News, ProSoccerTalk, SBI, Goal.com, SB Nation, The Brotherly Game,

Chris Vito talked to Hackworth after the announcement, who said, “It’s awful nice to have so many people say congrats. But look, we’ve got a game Saturday (against New England) and I’ve been watching video to get prepared for that.” Hackworth said of his reaction to the news, “I just felt very thankful and relieved. I’m not going to lie and say it wasn’t a bit of a trying time. It was great news. Nick had shown a ton of faith and confidence in me the whole time. I had been operating like I’d have this job. So this was a nice announcement, but it doesn’t change anything in how I’ve approached this job.”

The timing of the announcement might strike many Union supporters as odd, given the team’s recent poor form. Goal.com’s Kyle McCarthy writes, “The odd timing of the decision, however, raises questions about other potential influences (including the potential financial ramifications of Nowak’s recent lawsuit) on the decision to make this move now and the strength of the available candidate pool (clearly, the Union brass weren’t impressed with the other possible options) for potential coaching vacancies this offseason.”

Nick Sakiewicz says of the timimg, “Why now? Why not. The season is still remotely viable, we’re mathematically not out of it, and the team needs to know that we have a game plan going forward and there’s stability in the future.”

Sakiewicz said the desire for stability includes not spending months searching for a permanent manager from outside the organization. “Why put our fans through that, why put our organization through that when we’ve got someone in our backyard?”

Sakiewicz tells Chris Vito, “It was just waking up this morning and (having) a very lousy feeling about last night and how we dominated the game. John really created what that product was yesterday and we need more of it to get better. He’s the guy to do it. He’s got a great plan.”

In the Hackworth announcement from the Union, Sakiewicz said that “John has a plan to move our team forward and toward the upper reaches of Major League Soccer.” Asked what that plan might be, Sakiewicz responded, “That’s top-secret information right now, but as we roll out the plan, we certainly will make it public and communicate with our fans. One of the things I love about John is his transparency and his willingness to say it like it is. That very much is in line with our organization and how we do things here.”

Union City Blue recaps the Union’s woes on the field and concludes, “There are maybe six players that are clearly worth retaining – Carlos Valdes, Brian Carroll, Amobi Okugo, Zac MacMath, Sheanon Williams, and Raymon Gaddis. The rest are questionable.” Hm.

Look for PSP’s preview of Saturday’s game against New England later today. In the meanwhile, check out our quick reference for stats, highlights and more from the Union’s past matches against the Revolution.

Goal.com has a preview of Saturday’s game. They predict a draw.

Some have suggested that the Union go with younger players for the remainder of the season. Marc Narducci wonders how much younger the Union can get than they already are.

Danny Cruz says of the news, “Hack is a guy people want to play for. He’s a good coach who I’ve known for a long time. I think he has big plans for this club, and I am excited to be a part of that.

While John Hackworth said the hamstring injury to Carlos Valdes that forced his early exit from Wednesday’s devastating loss to Columbus didn’t appear serious, this report from Dave Zeitlin speculates as to what changes in the backline might be seen if the Union captain cannot play.

More on Wednesday’s devastating loss from MLS Talk, Delaware Online, Columbus Crew SB Nation blog Massive Report, and Sports Mole. Also, here’s the postgame quote sheet.

The Union locker room is resolved to move forward from Wednesday night’s loss.

The Union could be facing Juan Toja, the former MLS All-Star who returned to the league from a European sojourn and was picked up by New England through the allocation process. US Soccer Players looks at his return and that of Union man Bakary Soumare and what it all could mean.

Michael Lahoud, accompanied by Chris Konopka, making music.

Local

Carli Lloyd and Heather Mitts stop in with CBS Philly.

The La Salle women’s team will play Washington today and Portland on Saturday in the Husky/Nike Invitation in Seattle. The team announced on Thursday that former standout goalkeeper Melissa Sanger has been hired as an assistant coach.

The University of Pennsylvania men’s team kicks off their 2012 season with a five-game home stand at Rhodes Field that begins with Lafayette this afternoon (5pm) and Hartford on Sunday (6pm). Rudy Fuller, the men’s team coach, talks to Penn Gazette about his expectations for the new season and why he thinks his team will soon be a national contender.

The UPenn women host James Madison at Rhodes Field this evening at 7:30pm, followed by Temple on Sunday at 8:30pm.

The Temple men’s team begins its 2012 season this afternoon on the road against Virginia Tech. On Sunday they finish off a weekend of travel when they face James Madison.

The Villanova women’s team also has two-game series in Virginia, starting with Richmond on Friday and VCU on Sunday.

The Carlisle Sentinel looks at how the recent rule that prohibits youth players in the US Development Academy system from playing high school soccer affecrts players in the Cumberland Valley area, home to Union Academy partner and US Development Academy member PA Classics.

MLS

In CONCACAF Champions League play, Seattle topped Caledonia 3–1 on the road in Trinidad while a ten-men Houston Dynamo held on for a 1–1 road draw with Olimpia of Honduras.

Chicago Fire’s Marco Pappa will join SC Heerenveen “effective immediately.” Last week it was reported that Pappa had signed a pre-contract with the Dutch club and would be joining them after the MLS season. More on the move here.

Montreal Impact will be dropping their ticket prices by an average of 15 percent for the 2013 season. Impact president Joey Saputo said in a press release, “We listened to the calls of our supporters and we have adjusted our prices. I am proud to confirm that there will be a price reduction and we will be rewarding the loyalty of our current season ticket holders. Even though we are currently having success on the field and in the stands, we will never take our ticket holders for granted.”

Portland Timbers are having a dreadful season but its fans are enjoying some good eats through the club’s promotion of the city’s vibrant food cart scene.

It looks like Alessandro Del Piero could end up in the A League with Sydney FC.

MLS hopeful Orlando SC believes building a soccer specific stadium will be key to them joining the league.

Soccer America looks at black cat tactics following the black cat pitch invasion in the 83rd minute of the CONCACAF Champions League match between Toronto and Santos Laguna on Wednesday. Santos went on to score two stoppage time goals and leave BMO Field with a 3–1 win.

At Grantland, the Designated Player looks at the curious case of Peter Wilt.

US

The US advanced to the semifinals of the Women’s U-20 World Cup with a 2–1 extra time win over North Korea this morning. Vanessa Di Bernardo scored first for the US with a cracker of a shot from distance in the 52nd minute  before Kim Su Gyong equalized in the 74th minute. Substitute Chioma Ubogagu headed home the winner in the 8th minute of extra time. The US next faces Nigeria on Tuesday (2:50am on ESPNU, ESPN3) with Japan vs. Germany in the other semi (6:20am on ESPNU, ESPN3).

While Jurgen Klinsmann isn’t expected to announce his roster for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers until Sunday, Sporting News reports Bolton Wanderers have announced that Tim Ream will be with the USMNT. But if you go to the Bolton website, Ream isn’t in the announcement. I guess we’ll know one way or another on Sunday.

At Philly.com, Jonathan Tannenwald reports that Comcast will have beIN Sport on its lineup by Sept. 6, in time for the USMNT World Cup qualifier against Jamaica.

Jonathan Tannenwald also reports that DirecTV, which already has beIN Sport, will soon drop English-language broadcasts of GolTV.

The New York Times looks at how Al Jazeera, the media company that owns beIN Sport, is seeking US viewers through soccer. I’d be more specific but apparently I’ve reached my 10 article a month limit as a nonsubscriber to the Times website.

The US paralympics men’s national team begins play in the 2012 Paralympics in London on Saturday against Ukraine. Kickoff is at 9am and you can watch a livestream of the game at www.paralympic.org.

The US Soccer Development Academy has announced that it will launch a U-13/14 program in the Fall of 2013.

USWNT and former Philadelphia Independence goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart is out for a month after surgery to remove bone spurs from her knee.

Elsewhere

With the transfer window in Europe set to close today at 7pm ET, time is running out for Clint Dempsey, who is looking for a move from Fulham to a bigger Premiership club and has reportedly turned down a bid from Aston Villa. More on the Dempsey saga here.

SI breaks down the Champions League draw.

In Brazil on an inspection tour of preparations for the 2014 World Cup, FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke says, “No stadium is behind schedule. All the projects are proceeding well and we have reached cruise speed.”

 

17 Comments

  1. So we have a totally top secret plan. What is part of that plan? Transparency. Sounds legit. I hope score goals is somewhere in the plan.

    • Yeah, their is a plan trust us! What is it? Its super duper secret.

      Nowak had a plan too. In truth their is no plan. Get the money and run is the plan.

  2. James "4-3-3" Forever says:

    Personally from a MLS and larger perspective I think it’s a good thing to have another young American coach coming into the league, especially one with a plan that seems to focus on young American talent.
    Obviously I believe Hackworth is smart enough to supplement this team with veterans from any nationality in the right positions.
    And considering we already have young American talent ranging from legit NT prospects (Okugo, Williams) to good league player/possible NT bubble players (Farfans, Jack, MacMath) – in the future of course – we are already off to a good start.

  3. WilkersonMcLaser says:

    In anticipation of any cynical rants, I just want to go ahead and say that we need to stop acting as though the sky is falling.

    Am I disappointed that we won’t be going into the post-season? Absolutely. But, truth be told, if we were honest with ourselves, we knew that making the playoffs was a mighty steep proposition after the way this team was dismantled by Nowak. He not only liquidated a cadre of fan favorites and moral totems for the team, but some of our savviest veterans and field commanders. And with such a young team, the exciting but deceptive early run of good form after Hack took over should not and cannot be judged as the measure by which this squad is judged.

    I’m as disappointed as anyone about the last few games, but if we consider the early games we won under Hackworth, the results weren’t that different EXCEPT that the result bounced in our favor through a pretty heavy dose of luck; recall all those “well luck has to go our way sometime” exhortations on PSP after those 3-pointers. The Columbus game was actually the opposite — we clearly and consistently outplayed the opposition and had the game by the scruff of the neck, but some unfortunate finishing and a well-exploited defensive miscue (by a seasoned team with an astonishingly well-chosen DP) did us in, not poor extended play or lack of possession or failure to put shots on frame.

    No, Hackworth isn’t perfect and I do have plenty of bones to pick with some of his tactical decisions, but the rebuilding process has to begin somewhere. Let’s take a deep breath and enjoy the rest of the season as an opportunity to test out players — not just young ones, but anyone with a shot on this squad for 2013 — and start charting where we need to be adding some depth or making some cuts (*cough*Adu*cough*). We’ll make the playoffs next year. And pick up a CCL berth too, somehow, damnit!

  4. That’s par for the course. I’m less concerned about the interim tag (doesn’t mean he can’t be fired) and whether or not the Union will sign talent. To James’ point, I’m sure Hackworth can identify talent, the question is will the FO provide him the resources to acquire it.

    • I respectfully disagree. The question is simple: Can Hackworth Coach?
      He already has some talent on the squad. He may get more. He may not. I have not yet been convinced that he can formulate a sound tactical plan, make the right in-game adjustments, and most of all, prepare his team to play a full 90 minutes. I think it takes more than a handful of games to judge him, to be fair.

      • James "4-3-3" Forever says:

        As far as tactics, while he clearly has some flaws, I also wonder exactly what we are expecting. At the end of the day this is still the MLS, we are still a low table team with 3 years of history. Exactly what quality of a tactical coach can we get?
        And even then, what kind of OTHER flaws would this tactical coach have to settle for us?
        At the end of the day I am happy with Hackworths strengths, because they seem to be important one and he seems to be really good at them. At the very least, he also doesnt seem as stubborn or eccentric as Nowak either.

        • I’ll reply to both –
          Osager, not sure what we disagree about. I think he can recognize talent, based on his experience with the U-USMNT program. Yes, the Union have “some” talent, but acquiring more should be a priority,no?

          J-4-3-3 -Yes, we’re new. So is VAN,MTL,POR. SEA has one more MLS season than we do, I think their fans’ expectations are pretty high and the Sounders seem to go out of their way to deliver. To paraphrase Nick, Why now? Why not? Why can’t the Union put together a winning team now? I see MTL signing players. I see VAN signing players. I see the Union…removing the interim tag from a young coach. I’m fine to give him some time, but the FO has had 3 seasons and whatever their top secret transparent plan is, it just looks inexpensive.

          • We disagree on the precise question that must be asked. The problem is not in identifying talent. The U are modestly less talented than some MLS teams, but the gap is not enormous. I maintain the problem is tactical. The team often looks as though it hasn’t a fucking clue how to score a goal.

        • I want the American version of Brian Clough. He’s out there. Somewhere.

  5. “Some have suggested that the Union go with younger players for the remainder of the season. Marc Narducci wonders how much younger the Union can get than they already are.”

    The Union’s averag age in 2011 – 26.98, in April 2012 – 26.11. Wednesday night? 24.09. They are now 2 years younger than the median MLS age. They absolutely should not get younger. They should get smarter and find players who are physically capable of putting in 90 every match.

    • James "4-3-3" Forever says:

      Well, they should get young right now because this is currently a 10 game rebuilding period and trial for period.
      Also, the inevitable Okugo for Carrol and Soumare in at CB switch will drop that avg down even more. Carroll is by far our oldest starter.

      • My point is outside of raiding a local middle school, they are by far the youngest team in MLS. Not sure how getting younger will help. Carroll isn’t a flashy player, but easily one of the most consistent and brings professionalism every week. I’m in no hurry to have him removed and watch more learning curve mistakes.

  6. Dempsey to Tottenham. Spurs looking good.

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