Hackworth looking for help in summer transfer window

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union manager John Hackworth hopes to add new players in the summer transfer window.

Hackworth said Wednesday that he felt the Union was “probably about two to three spots away” from the roster he wants for his club. The Union are looking for back line depth and a potential defensive starter, as well as other possible additions, during the transfer window opening July 9.

“We have guys that are scouting full-time for us,” Hackworth said during his regular weekly news conference. “We are reviewing a lot of different players that are presented to us. And this is the — We’re coming up on the summer window where there’s a lot of moves that will be made, and we’re certainly in a good spot to make some moves, but we have to make the right move for this team and this club.”

Hackworth said his coaching staff was “not totally satisfied” with the club roster, and now that the Union actually have some financial and roster flexibility, the club can make moves. Before the recent trades of Gabriel Farfan and Bakary Soumare, the Union had no such flexibility.

“We’re better off than we were a couple weeks ago because we didn’t have any (salary cap or roster space) a couple weeks ago,” Hackworth said. “But now we have a little bit of room both on our roster spots and our cap space, and we added some allocation money. So while it’s not a huge amount, it is enough for us to go out and potentially make some moves. They just have to be smart ones.”

Now, the club has extra first and second round draft picks acquired in the trades of Farfan and Soumare, and Hackworth said they could be used to trade for players within MLS. In fact, he described “our coaching staff’s personal philosophy” as looking to MLS first for new players.

“You have less risk going in league,” Hackworth said, “because you have so much more knowledge of a player, what they’re capable of, what their personality is, how would they adapt to the culture and environment of this club, what their salary is exactly, what their expectations are, what you’re going to have to pay for these players. There’s a lot of details that, within league, make it a lot easier to make some of these moves, and certainly those are options for us.”


  1. Raise your hand if you actually trust Hackworth to be able to evaluate and capture good signing that will actually help us win.

    • Not me. He’s probably looking in MLS for someone he coached at U-17 level. Cough, Cough. Danny Cruz all over again. He should go back to coaching youth.

    • Let’s see. He decided to start McInerney, got LeToux back, and brought in Parke and Casey. Ok, he traded Soumare and Garfan, 2 players that asked to be traded and didnt want to be here any more. I dont understand why everyone’s freaking out, we are in the playoff hunt. I’d like to see Amobi in midfield but other than that I like most of the moves and decisions he’s made.

      • He had to start Mac. Nowak traded everyone else.
        Le Toux is entirely overrated.
        Parke brought himself in. Not Hackworth.

        I do give him credit for Casey, except now that Le Toux played one mediocre game, Hack favors him so Hack can play his favored kick-and-run style.
        Marfan has regressed. Williams has regressed. And Gaddis being on the left isn’t helping his development. Sheanon hit his ceiling. Should have traded him in the offseason.

      • Dan Walsh says:

        He definitely didn’t have to start Mac. There were plenty of other options.

      • No. He didn’t have to start Mac. The stats from 2010 showed mac as the leading scorer per minute played so it was a smart move. But don’t call hack a genius either. It may just be that hacks obvious obsession with his former u17 players just happened to pan out. Might just be luck. This team is also in the hunt to NOT make the playoIfs. They are 6 in the east in points per game. I think the union need to stop trying to get differeat players and thoroughly examine the coach and his system

      • sieve!!!!!! says:

        Like I said before, bringing Le Toux back wasn’t a personnel decision and the most input he probably had was what number Le Toux wore.

      • Scottymac says:

        I guess if you consider Lio Pajoy and Josue Martinez as “options”, then yes, Hack had a bevy of options. Mwanga, LeToux were gone. But even before his current run, Jack stood out against that dreck.

      • @D You do realize Le Toux is the league leader in assists right now right? Finding a way for casey, mac, and le toux to see the field at the same time is the best option as tonight has shown

    • kingkowboys says:

      I’m going to put faith in him because the summer transfer will be a proving ground for him as a coach. If he picks up the players he wants and they contribute, he looks like he knows what he is doing. If they don’t work out he looks over his head.

      All in all he deserves at least a full two season window to be manager. No one is going to step in mid season then turn the team completely around the next year. While the lineups can be aggravating he doesn’t have many decent options.

      • Great One says:

        I just don’t trust him, and from his comments you can see they’re going for bargain basement.

    • crosswiredmind says:

      Well, he started Jack Mac when Nowak would have traded him away.

  2. Andrew "Calm" Down says:

    Damarcus Beasley.

    • 🙁 now I have my hopes up

    • The Black Hand says:

      Beasley is a class act.

    • Based on talent, I’d love to have Beasley here. I just can’t see it being worth it considering all the time he could miss with the national team.
      Right now Beasley is looking like the top choice LB if Johnson gets pushed up to the midfield. We could potentially see him gone for qualifiers and the Gold Cup. Not to mention he may miss time in 2014 if he’s on the World Cup squad.
      I haven’t even taken into account his injury-riddled career yet. Might be too risky of a scenario for the Union.

    • kingkowboys says:

      He is rumored to be transfer listed by Puebla.

    • Unfortunately not “within MLS.”

    • Yup, this is the move I was thinking too. I know it wont happen, especially with the lottery, but it would be perfect on many levels.

    • Yes, Please.

  3. The Black Hand says:

    Did he really say the he’s looking for “back line depth and a potential defensive starter”? Maybe we can use some of the money that we got for the back line depth and defensive starter that we traded a couple of weeks ago. Absolutely absurd!

    • The Black Hand says:

      …or the one we traded the week before.

    • Oh, you mean the guys that didnt want to be here and asked to be traded. Would you rather he keep unhappy players in the locker room?

      • They wouldn’t have been unhappy if he a. Played Soumare.
        b. Acquired a real left back in the offseason.

        Also: you don’t announce to the world that you’re gonna trade someone. Hack did it twice.

        And what can you be so happy with him about? The same 14 players he plays, in the exact same situation, that continue to not produce, except for Mac?
        The fact that if he truly wanted to win, he would have signed Hartman on a one year? His awesome attacking tactics or his awesome defensive tactics?

      • The Black Hand says:

        You pretty much took the words right out of my mouth, D.
        Hack is nothing but the most aptly named coach in sports. What has he done? McInerney was in by default and Okugo at CB is a mistake. What has he done?

      • Philly Cheese says:

        When a player is told he will have shot to play if he produces in practice and then is relegated to the bench or bleachers to watch Cruz, Daniels, Carroll, Williams, Gaddis struggle and wear out from too many minutes then.asking to,be traded shows ompetitive spirit and frustration, not necessarily bad attitude. Soumare and Garfan could have been productive team members with proper coaching and rotation of players. I am surprised we have not heard “trade me” from Torres who was told if you “come into preseason fit, you will play” not even given chance. Torres provides service to forwards like no one currently on the pitch game after game who just run side to side or backwards.

      • The Farfan’s are overrated. They haven’t progressed at all since they looked great as rookies. They were great as rookies, but what have they done since?

        Sourmare flat out said, he wanted to be in Chicago. That is always where he wanted to be. So moving him made sense.

    • I’m assuming he means a LB by this comment, although that should have been addressed in the the first transfer window.

  4. The team really needs to shore up the left side. Left back should be a priority. If we brought in a starter, I’d imagine the competition at right back would be pretty fierce between Gaddis and Williams. This scenario could drastically improve two positions at once.
    I really hope they do sign Keita. Despite being right footed, he seems versatile enough to be moved around. This team lacks a dangerous and skillful winger.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if they get a center back from the lower divisions or trade for a reserve from another MLS team. The Union have a nice pile of draft picks that could be used as trading chips.

  5. Meh, sounds like they’re just telling us what they think we want to hear. I’m remain skeptical.

  6. We all know this will lead to another sub par or washed up midfielder.

  7. sieve!!!!!! says:

    Not really sure how a head coack acknowledging obvious needs counts as breaking news but here is hoping for the best. I’m at the show don’t tell phase in our relationship.

    • Dan Walsh says:

      It’s just the category we label it for organizational purposes. By labeling it “Breaking News,” it can be on our second tier of stories on the front page next to one that is labeled “Union.” Then we’ll often recategorize them later so that you can find this when you look under the Union category.

      Welcome behind the curtain. 😉

  8. sieve!!!!!! says:

    So if you are the Union and you can get only one backline starter do you get a new centerback and push okugo to the midfield or do you get a left back and staunch the bleeding there?
    All things being equal I go for the Centerback.

    • You go for the left back, because Williams can move in to CB and Gaddis can move over.

    • I am saying Centerback. When Saomare was here he did a good job of organizing the back line and made Gaddis better. I think with a CB that can organize the back line and Okugo in the Midfield it will be a greater net gain.

    • Dan Walsh says:

      If you can get a good left-footed left back, you get one. No question.

  9. Acquire a good LB. Move Williams to the midfield. Move Gaddis back to RB.

    • kingkowboys says:

      I don’t think Williams can play midfield. He doesn’t have the ball skills to be in the final third. We also have a plethora of midfielders with this flaw already.

  10. Can we get a real manager who knows the game and doesn’t have the mental coaching limitations of a U17/20 coach at the Summer Transfer? Hackworth is no professional coach at the MLS level. He has tunnel vision and can only see the game one way. He’s no strategist.

  11. Scottymac says:

    I guess what’s confusing is the focus on the transfer window AND the claim to be focused on scouting MLS players. We don’t need the transfer window to trade in the league, and BS “Superdraft” picks don’t mean squat to a Bundesliga 2. side (though allocation is used by competitive MLS sides to acquire foreign talent, we use it to cover payroll). The transfer window would be to sign the trialist (injured already? Bout right) but any other help would be a trade. Frame this against the same quotes from last year when we brought in exactly one player- Danny Cruz.
    Kessler posted a story yesterday where Sack quashed a trade to bring in Harvey, Frei and Califf. If we get anyone, look to freaking Harrisburg for a $40K a year player, not an actual starting quality player.

    • I read that, as much as I would hate the move individually (Califf is old and washed up and half the player Soumare is, Harvey is a average retread and Frei would be good), I would MUCH rather have seen that trade go down and gotten actual pieces back instead of a 2nd rounder + magic money.

    • Steve l. says:

      I could be wrong, but the trialist hang been on a team in a year so shouldn’t e under contract, that would mean we don’t have to wait for the transfer window for him either. That being said I heard he was injured also.

    • Dan Walsh says:

      Well, my guess is he was just grouping them together. i.e. They want to bring players in, movement often happens in the summer, someone from outside the league could come in the window, someone inside the league could come any time.

      Soumare also arrived in last year’s summer transfer window.

  12. kingkowboys says:

    Summer transfers will likely include defensive depth possibly a starting left back and a center back. The other transfer(s)should be midfield help.

  13. kingkowboys says:

    I don’t see where they are going to add quality through inter-league deals. The pack is too tight for teams to look to offload players. This isn’t MLB where teams will look to unload quality players with contracts expiring because they can’t make the playoffs. With the exception of Chivas, DC United, and Toronto all the teams are in contention for the playoffs.

    • A lot of teams have spare parts that would work on other teams. Case in point We have Roger Torres, I can think of a few teams that could use him… Starting with the Union.

  14. I’d rather not spend our limited resources on a mediocre player when our chances of making the playoffs seem slim. I’d rather save our resources and build on them, then go after some real quality for the future. This team desperately needs someone who can influence the run of play. Jack is great, but he requires a team behind him to give him opportunities. We need someone that can create the attack. CAM DP please.

  15. Great One says:

    Isn’t this the same coach who was talking about how incredibly deep the Union were not long ago? Of course that was before trading a starting defender and a def/mid.
    I don’t think anyone, ANYONE, even the Hack defenders, think we are going to bring in anyone of significance. If its another Danny Cruz then I don’t want them, bc now he has to play every game.
    To me the most frustrating thing out of all of this is his decision to keep Brian Caroll in his spot no matter what, and to not let Garfan play Mid. Think about it, if he had started Sounare from the beginning of the year then Okugo could have played midfield. Sounare would also then not have asked to be traded. This would have immediately upgraded our defense and our midfield, while having some actual quality depth on the bench with Carroll there.

    • Look the gripes of the proles have obviously reached the Kings ear. The hardcore fanbase is really turning toxic right now so obviously the front office got together and decided to get proactive about this by announcing that they are going to get new players and going so far as having another Sons of Ben front office joint summit at some godforsaken little place called “Horsham” (A place I’m not sure really exist.)


      We’ll see if anything substantial comes of this or if they are just blowing smoke as usual.

      • Actually, its a great place to watch soccer and those of us who live out here appreciate that the team actually acknowledges that there are fans who live north of the city.

      • Not the most accessible place for a supporters summit tho…

      • I would think that a majority of the fan base travels from outside of Philly. A lot of the areas in Philly do not have the disposable income or the interest in anything other than football. This is not a slight at you if you live in Philly or anything, just my reasoning behind the thought.
        It’s also really bad for anyone outside the city to get into/around the city once Phillies season starts. 476 is hell, but it’s really the only feasible road from a lot of areas North of Philly.
        Also, the Iron Abbey is great. I go there fairly regularly for away games. Great atmosphere, good food, great beer.

      • -nickt.- says:

        c-dawg, the majority of the fanbase may in fact be from outside of the city but the fact that the city is central and also that transit is oriented into the city makes a huge difference. yes, horsham is outside the city but i can guarantee you that most of the fanbase is from outside of horsham.

      • Dan Walsh says:

        I’m a fan of the Iron Abbey too. Good Portuguese food, attached to a Brazilian restaurant, so I took the wife there a couple times. Good place to watch a game. It’s as close to where I used to live in Mount Airy as the soccer pubs in Center City. Plenty of Union fans out in that area (including two guys I’ve split my season tickets with).

      • Scottymac says:

        Horsham is incredibly convenient and a wonderful place to go- Mayor of Horsham.

      • Love the Iron Abbey. During the EPL/SPL seasons, I’m there every weekend. Great food, good beer selection, friendly staff.

  16. Sean Doyle says:

    Two words: Yossi Benayoun!

  17. The only thing hack does right is signings. Kleberson, le toux, parke, casey. Gotta give him credit there. Though im not sure if selling soumare was great or the fact that he didnt get a left back or a veteran goalie or that he got that LB from trinidad then dropped him. Or the cruz trade.

    What he sucks at most is choosing right people to start, choosing the right people to sub, and his overall game strategies.

    So i trust that he can get some good players but I dont trust him to play them, create a good lineup with them, or assign them the right responsibilities.

    • Scottymac says:

      Kleberson is on loan, so not actually signed. And this was to dump Adus salary.
      Parke engineered his deal to be home for his kid’s birth.
      LeToux was for STH retention.
      Casey was an injury recovery low balled offer. I will give him credit for that one.
      That’s it.

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