Thursday, June 14, 2012

Nowak Departs Philadelphia, For the Better

Article by Luke Lohr

Peter Nowak arrived at the Philadelphia Union after working as the United States men's national team assistant under Bob Bradley. He left the team to coach the expansion team and with him he brought his experience with the national team and his time coaching DC United.

Nowak and the club reached an agreement to mutually part ways after struggles in the team's third year mount. After compiling an overall record of 21-30-24 with the Union, a 2-7-2 start to the season along with questionable player movements and rumblings of locker room instability, Nowak is leaving the team in a less than respectable light.

Prior to the start of the season, the former Union coach sent Sebastien Le Toux on his way after disagreements over contract negotiations went sour. Le Toux's departure marked the first of several odd moves as it can be argued he was arguably the face of the young franchise. Following the departure of Le Toux, another valuable leader on the team was let go. Danny Califf was sent to Chivas USA for what Nowak indicated was a trade desired by Califf.

In the opening of the season however, Califf the team captain, was left out of the starting roster over what was said to be a knee injury. However, Califf himself told reporters that he was fine. Rumblings of player instability and frustration in the locker room between the players and coach mounted. Danny Mwanga was also sent packing in a trade with Portland, though that trade seemed to be a more fiscally responsible than any of the previous moves mentioned.

To date their were still off record murmurs of players being unhappy with Nowak. However, perhaps those rumblings will subside now that Peter Nowak is gone. The team is likely better off. With so many questionable moves and players unhappy, Nowak divided the passionate fan base that fills PPL Park so vibrantly. As Philadelphia fans are so passionate, so too are their expectations of the team, which likely makes this move best for all.

There were reports of Peter Nowak inquiring about the Hearts vacancy overseas, reports which Nowak went on record saying were false.

Now though the vacancy of head coach will be temporarily filled by assistant John Hackworth. One wonders just who Union CEO Nick Sakiewicz will seek out as a full replacement. Preki and Steve Nicol are both available, with Nicol being a very reasonable choice. Nothing has been said publicly on that front however.

Another looming question left in the wake of Nowak's leaving is the question of who coaches the All-Star match. Major League Soccer has stated that an announcement will be made soon, presumably as they probe potential coaches.

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