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Posted by on Jun 3, 2013 in Featured, Philadelphia Union | 15 comments

A Sad Sad Day

A Sad Sad Day

Dear John Hackworth.

I have come to the saddest realisation I never thought I would have. I’ve always thought of myself as a positive person. I remember standing at Chester Train Station standing up for Chris Seitz when he made a blunder (for the person I said that Kansas City’s free kick could not be saved – I was wrong). I was shocked that Nowak got away with what he did (apparently). I am a Freddy Adu fan and see the positives he brought to the team. Now, after watching that game against Toronto, and looking at the last few weeks, even as far back as the last year (isn’t it about a year you have been in charge now?)  I have to say I can’t stick up for you any more.

It was August 30th, 2012. News came through that you  got the job permanently. If we went back a few months, then that sounds good. We had turned the season around it seemed. Good performances against SKC, and against teams in the US Open Cup. A great win against a Raul inspired Schalke. No permanent job came. A couple months later and you get the job, in the middle of a bad run. Bad choice? Maybe. There are people out there that wanted the Union to look around for others. Then the dagger came – you were given a long term contract. What kind of organisation gives a manager a 3 year contract? Another discussion ensues (this time over twitter). This time I feel I am right. You should never ever give a first time coach a 3 year contract. Ever. Sorry Mr Hackworth.

Roll on the end of the season – and that last game. Boy that was awful. A rivalry game, a big game for Union fans, and we are flat. Surely you can get the team up for the next season.

Pre-season – and you get rid of Nowak’s “Dead weight”. Rightly, you allow Carlos Valdes to leave to get into his national team plans. All going well. We sign Jeff Parke, and it looks good. We sign Conor Casey as a target man – just what the Union always needed – outstanding. However, you (or Sakiewicz?) sign Sebastien Le Toux. Why? Who cares about the season ticket fan wishes instead of getting players on the field that can win. Le Toux has no touch. He scored goals in season 1 – great. He moaned and we lost Carlos Ruiz in season 2, then he got to play up top and he scored – great. However, his touch is still terrible. A guy called Jack McInerney is sitting in the stands because he is playing, Jack (for me) is a far better player. Season 3 – no Le Toux, Nowak goes, You get the job and play Jack – and what does our best goals/90mins player do? He scores. What has he done this year? He has scored. Why on earth do we need Le Toux? We don’t. Other than to make people that are “Le Toux fans” happy. No offense to Seba who is an outstanding guy. However, Jack is better. Always has been.  Let him play with Casey, please.

Now to tactics. Started off 4-3-3 and its going well. Trade Lionard Pajoy and suddenly its a 4-5-1 and we suck. Now we go 4-5-1 and sucked in game 1 (and no Jack – boy those season  ticket holders must be happy with that loss though – Seba is back). However, we have a solid looking team, despite the strange first game. Garfan in midfield instead of defense? Ok. After that – all I can say for tactics is sitting back and hoping to hold on to a 0-0 result, maybe snatching 1-0 win. Even at home. Even against teams like Ocean City. Yes – you (or the team under your instructions) sat back against Ocean City. It doesn’t matter what players we have out there – the tactics are the same. Hope for a lucky goal against the run of play, from a throw in from Sheanon Williams or a corner (that we somehow get lucky to get).  Tactically you have been lacking (in my opinion, which I suppose is far from expert). Today, against Toronto – even up a man it was the same. The only chance we got all game (other than Le Toux taking a shot when he shouldn’t) was off a long throw. Can we get creativity please?)

Subs – same thing every game. It’s getting predictable. Boring. Pointless. Same players on, same players off. You’ve been owned all year in the “subs race”.

Transfers. While earlier I said what we did well. Now for the bad. We didn’t take anyone useful in the draft. Apparently no left back was needed because we had Gabe Farfan and a guy from Trinidad and Tobago. Why do I not know the name of that “guy”? Because you went and released him. Later in the season, Gabe is traded to Chivas. I understand that Gabe may have not wanted to play left back – but why oh why didn’t we get cover? Why oh why use Ray Gaddis in a position he is struggling? (Yes he is struggling – if you are surprised I say that you have no business being a coach).

Next – Bakary Soumare. I understand you may not have liked his trade request and the way he handled it. However, all pre-season we had a back-line of Williams, Soumare, Parke, Gabe Farfan – and 1/2 of that is gone. That is not the team we play. Are you surprised a player told would be the heart of the defense is unhappy he doesn’t play? (Whether or not he deserved to be is irrelevant really).  Anyway he is traded.

Who do we receive in return? Nobody. Not a single player until we cash in on a draft, that has netted us who in your reign as head coach? Right, nobody.

So, we get rid of 2 defenders, and now have Chris Albright as the lone defensive player for backup. We are struggling defensively, you yourself have said that things have to improve. How are we meant to do that when the players are guaranteed to play because you sell the backup for that position? Right. They have no incentive because they will always play. This isn’t to take away from the defense who have done a good job (considering 1/2 are playing out of position). Amobi Okugo deserves a knighthood because of his play. However, lets not make stupid decisions to get rid of any backup without replacing them.

Now to midfield. Kleberson in, Adu out. Defensive midfielder in, attacking midfielder out. Roger Torres, more creativity – told to shape up or else – he is by far and away the best player in the off-season and he sees 10 minutes so far. Instead, Danny Cruz – who despite the hustle has severe limitations. Keon Daniel – who you say has the “best technical ability on the team” – yet has been god-awful this year. Marfan – played in left midfield when he is right footed, messed around, subbed instead of Cruz – struggled. Brian Carroll – struggled. The midfield has been a complete and utter disaster. Where is Roger Torres – the guy who looked easily the best player we have all pre-season – sitting in the stands. Your treatment of him has been a disgrace. Your midfield has been awful – so why not give him a chance. You have played a midfield with absolute zero creativity, and you wonder why we struggle.

Up top – Jack has really saved your job. Without him – we are below DC United. Thank god for Jack. Jack and Casey are doing well – what happens? A few questions and Casey is dropped for LeToux. All that hustle (with Cruz). Does nothing. Doesn’t create chances.

Please John – if Sakiewicz doesn’t fire you for ineptitude, please play with more creativity. It was embarrassing seeing the team settle for a 2-1 win against Ocean City. It was embarrassing seeing us sit back and let Toronto – one of the worst teams in the league dominate with a man down. Your coaching has been embarrassing. Please go with any dignity. Resign. Say you aren’t ready for a head coach and would love to stay as a coach (you may be very good at that). Tactically you have been outcoached, outplayed, and all we get are you are “surprised at the comments” made. As a person that always sticks up for “his team” and “his players” – you just made that impossible with your play, decisions, tactics over the last month. Please either change or go.




  1. Eh. Agree with some points, others you just seem to be crying.

    • Care to elaborate?

      • I won’t elaborate for that person but I do agree with them so I’ll elaborate for myself. I agree that the team has looked terrible lately, and I agree that players like LeToux and Cruz haven’t created any goals yet but I’d say the top isn’t the problem, it’s the middle and the back line depth. The middles issue is simply position in my opinion and the depth up top is likely the reason that the team can’t afford the depth in the back. This is where the crying comes in. The MLS pay structure makes it hard to have all of these things. It’s a have cake or eat it type of league. I love seeing unheralded youth talent come up and make names for themselves occasionally, but it’s no secret that the level of play suffers from the parity that the pay structure creates.

        My only request of the team is to work on passing drills or work together more. Switching up the lineup won’t help the chemistry as the author suggests.

  2. I could not have said it better myself. Thank you for taking my thoughts & putting them to paper. Great job as usual!!!!

  3. Who is leading the team in assists?? Oh yeah, that’s right! None other than Sebastien LeToux! He stinks, he doesn’t creat chances. Meanwhile he leads the team in assists. I agree with you that Hack needs to go but LeToux isn’t the problem my son!

    • Thanks for the comment. I would like to counter that just behind LeToux in assists is 2 defenders. For a guy that takes most corners and some free kicks, having just 4 assists doesn’t say much. If he was creating chances that forwards aren’t putting away then you may also have a point. For me the fact that he leads the team in assists says more about the poor play of Farfan/Daniel/Cruz than the stellar play of Le Toux. Feel free to disagree however.

    • Is that a good thing? For his one good pass, he has nine terrible touches and passes. Not to mention, he is one of the highest salaried players in the squad. He isn’t needed. Fact is, if the Union would ever hire a manager that appreciates creative attacking midfielders, we would have someone with much more assists.

  4. THe Philadelphia Union where creative players go to purgatory or die.

  5. I’m confident that Hackworth has made an effort to add some depth to our paper-thin defensive corps. Problem is that Sakiewicz cannot swallow his pride and bring back some Union alumni, thereby admitting the FO’s mistakes in offloading some players. He has nixxed “done deals” to re-sign Califf and Harvey as recently as last week*. Bringing back Le Toux was enough of a public “mea culpa” for him.

    * I’m not saying they’re the end-all-be-all to our defensive woes; just relaying the information that’s been shared.

    • Interesting information. I had heard the Califf rumor, but nothing about Harvey. I’d rather have Harvey back than Califf, unless Califf was on a much reduced contract (or we move Amobi to midfield).

  6. Let Toux is tied for 2nd in the league in assists…the leader has 5. Yes I do have a point. He is creating chances for other players. Only 1 guy has accumulated more assists throughout the entire league.

  7. Also, I apologize if my comment sounds confrontational. Just merely trying to point out facts.

    • You aren’t being confrontational as far as i see it.

      As for your point – maybe that is a general issue in MLS. If we look at his assists – 2 are from corners, one was from a free kick, and another was from a corner that was sent back to him (after he hit the first man again?) and he had a lot of time to try again. While it’s great to see his dead ball attempts are working better than before, that still, in my mind, doesn’t make him creative. What has he done other than dead balls? (i may have missed it)

  8. So I take it that you weren’t too much of a David Beckham fan then? J/k. Look I agree, LeToux is not a superstar player. I just happen to think he is useful and not the Union’s biggest problem. Is he the best that we can get at his position? Is his technical ability the best? No, but who else do we have? I think Danny Cruz and Keon Daniel have been awful.

    If Hack is looking for a winger within MLS, I say look no further than Patrick Nyarko. I love his speed and think he would be dangerous for us. I think Kleberson is a quality pick up and has a great vision, but we still need a #10. We also need a centerback. I would have preferred moving Baky to the starting lineup and Amobi to D Mid and Carroll to the bench but that ship has sailed.

    • I don’t think LeToux is the Unions biggest problem either. I just don’t think we needed to go out and get him, and the money we have put towards LeToux could have been used elsewhere. LeToux on the wing/midfield would have Sir Stanley Matthews turning in his grave. LeToux up top has some value – but as i said i think Jack is far far better (personal opinion).

      You are definitely right that Daniel has been awful, Cruz has done what he is there to do, and could easily be replaced imo. The biggest issue is a real #10. Always has been all year. The only person we have that fits that role now is sitting either on the bench for 90minutes or in the stand. A while back we heard Hack is looking for left footed players, probably wingers, so we will see what comes from that.

      As for Beckham, wasn’t ever a huge fan. Isn’t quick or skilled enough for a winger imo – and never really played in the middle. Of course, instead of 9/10 attempts hitting the first defender (LeToux), 9/10 gets exactly where he wants to put it with Becks ;)


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