Press Conference

“It’s up to us”: Hack on what Union needs to do to reach the playoffs, Torres and Kleberson, more

On where the Union are at right now

If you guys would have asked me that in February, that we would be in the thick of it, I would take it, for sure. Especially with five games to play.

I feel really good about the way we are playing. I know the perception is that we’re having a slide but, based on performance, based on what we were able to do against Houston and games before that  — the half against San Jose, the first half against New England, but taking into consideration the Montreal game — I think we’re in a good spot. We have everything to play for, it’s up to us. I think we’re in a spot that most of us would have taken at the start of the year.

Is there a chance Roger Torres will see more playing time?

Sure, there’s a shot. But how many minutes did you say he played so far this season? In reality, I don’t think we’re in a desperate situation. And I think if you start to reach for straws and play guys who haven’t really represented your team at this point in the year that you’re getting to desperate times. Roger has done well in training over  the last couple of weeks, that’s why he was in the 18 against Houston. But I think it’s unrealistic to say that you’re going to go to a guy that has played under 40 minutes for you all year.

On whether the team has been treating the remaining games as if they were playoff games

I think we have that approach for some of the games, for sure, back to, like, New York. New York was an absolute playoff feel for both teams. Now you have New York who is sitting at the top of the table for both conferences. But that was another good performance by us, that had a playoff feel to it.

I think you can get into a little bit of a tough situation if players feel like every week its gotta happen this week. The reality is, if you look at our last five games, and you’ve got Kansas City twice in that last five, going a way to Kansas City certainly is gonna be a huge difficult game for us. But I don’t think its one where people are going to say, ‘Philly’s gotta win this one in order to put themselves back into the race.’ You look at the home games in the rest of the schedule and think there’s probably a better chance to do that.

At the same time, we gotta keep things in check so that we don’t let that pressure get to us. Good week of training so far, guys are relaxed, confident, feeling good about themselves and what we’re doing, and that’s all we can really be prepared for.

What does the Union need to do in the final five regular season games?

I think in the next five games you have to get three wins and probably another point along the way. And it’ll depend on what other teams do too.  But, I think realistically, you want to get nine to ten points out these next possible 15.

On playing Kansas City on the road

It’s gonna be tough. But we’ve been a team all year that’s come up with some firsts for our club and, in particular, we’ve been pretty good on the road. We’ve gone to some places that are traditionally very hard — and we haven’t done well in — and we’ve gotten results. So, that’s our focus right now.

I always put things on the performance and the process. And the process of training and our performances — I still say we’re in pretty good form right now — we just gotta translate that into results so that the perception is that we’re doing both. ‘Cause it is, no question, a result oriented business and we have to get those points.

On what Fabinho brings from a coaching perspective

It gives you some versatility that, before, we didn’t have, for sure. It gives you — once yo add one of those pieces, it gives you a lot of flexibility to move some guys around and try to maximize the guys you have.

What can be taken from the season opening loss against Kansas City as the team prepares to meet them again?

We have a little different team now, a little different lineup that we’ve been going with regularly. I think we take away the fact that they came here and stole three points from us. Now our job is to try to do the exact same thing to them.

Any injury concerns?

A couple of knocks. Keon has a little nagging groin issue. Seba has had some Plantar fasciitis flare up but not bad, not limiting training.

Having scored only one goal over the last five games, when does it become desperate?

We’ve scored one legitimate goal, OK?  But we have scored three goals for sure that the head of officials has gone on national TV and said should have been goals. And, we’ve created numerous chances. So it becomes desperate when you’re not playing well, when you’re not creating chances. But if you have been in this game long enough, you are gonna realize it’s a cruel game and you’re gonna go through times where they’re not falling for you. But you don’t want to hit the panic button, you want to make sure you believe in what you’re doing  and the process by how you’re doing it, and that’s where we are right now. And that’s probably why I sound the way I do, that our team is in a better spot then the perception that’s out there.

I think if you look at Kansas City’s roster, a lot of really good players — there’s a reason that they’ve been so successful. Having guys step up at opportune times, they’ve played a lot of different players. I think Graham Zusi is one of the best players in our league right now. He’s on great form and he’s done the same thing for the national team. CJ has been on a little bit of a tear, he’s a handful no matter what. They’re a really balanced team with a lot of depth.

On Kleberson

I think every guy on our roster has a very important role to play, but similar to the way I talked about Roger earlier, I wouldn’t expect us to go to desperate lengths and play guys that hadn’t been a part of what we did all year. I would make the point to all of you that this is the first time the entire season that we’ve lost two games in a row, alright? And saying that, probably shouldn’t have lost two games in a row, you know? We’ve been a team that has bounced back and we’ve been a team that’s, for the most part, when we’ve had a bad performance, we’ve come back and had a good one. And that’s consistency. I don’t know how you measure that. But the way I’m looking at it, we’ve been pretty good in those situations. Now it’s our toughest challenge because we  had two games where we haven’t gotten the results, and we need to bounce back from it.

Considering the fanfare that greeted Kleberson’s arrival and the amount of money he’s being paid, what kind of message does that send to the fan base?

I’m not trying to send any message to the fan base. I’m trying to put 11 players on the field that, game-in and game-out, give us the best chance to win. And Kleberson has been important to that. But I would go back to the real reasons why he is here and what he has done for the club. And those are different for our coaching staff and for the players in the locker room than they are, for sure, to the people out there.


  1. “going a way to Kansas City certainly is gonna be a huge difficult game for us. But I don’t think its one where people are going to say, ‘Philly’s gotta win this one in order to put themselves back into the race.’ ”

    What will those people say when you don’t win?

    Two paragraphs later he says they need three wins to get in. Soooo…I’ll spot them a home win for TFC, I think it’s a stretch, but let’s say a road win at DCU. Now that means either a road win in MTL (not happening), or that same SKC team walks in here and lays down. Anyone feeling good about his understanding of our chances? Still feel he’s the guy to lead the U? I think they go 1-2-2 and in the post season conference Hack says he’s not a whiner but that Keon goal was legit cause some guy from PRO said so.

  2. Has Hackworth ever said what the “real reasons” Kleberson is here are? Isn’t it really just — he’s not Freddy Adu.

    • He hasn’t nor should we expect or want him to. It was clear from the get go. For him to come out and say they traded for an expiring contract would go over like a lead balloon

      • Then Hackworth should stop using the phrase in his press conferences when asked about Kleberson. He is a DP and the club thought enough of him at his signing to host an ‘unveiling’ (their word) when he began training with the team. If the reality is that Kleberson just wanted to collect a paycheck, fine, both sides got what they wanted from the deal.

      • Everything Hack says goes over like a lead balloon because he’s full of shit. Every word out of his mouth is a slap in the face of the fans of the Union.

      • I agree with both of you. I don’t care if they are going to let him go the moment the season is over; he is a still a quality player and should see the field. I also don’t like how often press conferences are nothing but company-line pablum. I have stopped watching them because I know that there is nothing to learn from them.

  3. I wonder if any of the pro-Hack contingent in the “Should Hack Be Fired?” post have changed their mind after that performance.

    • Nope. I love his response to Kleberson. One of the worst things a coach can do is to start appeasing our complaints. Sure Kleberson and Torres play attractive football, but they are defensive liabilities that don’t match the [ugly] style of play that best suits this team.

    • Just as a broad generalization, I like when coaches don’t publicly throw their players under the proverbial bus. Andy Reid was the master at it, and Charlie was pretty good too. Hackworth seems to also have that ability. I like that attribute in a coach. (And yes, Buddy Ryan and coaches like him make for great sound bites when they do the tossing.)
      We don’t know what’s being said in the locker room and on the training field (obviously). Clearly there’s something Hackworth wants Torres and/or Kleberson to be doing that they aren’t. My hunch is better defensive coverage and/or fewer risky passes.
      Now, that said… as a fan, I would definitely rather see Torres or Kleberson in place of Daniel. I like Keon Daniel; I think Keon Daniel could have a strong role on this team. But not as a full time starter. I’d like to see the midfield take on a more diamond shape than the current “bucket” we seem to play. I’d like to see Cruz on the bench and Farfan on the field in his place, and let him earn his confidence back. But we’re not going to get those things – at least this year.
      As I said in the “Should he be fired” thread, I give him one more off season and one more season. His salary budget issues are fixed at the end of this year; he’ll have two top-10 draft picks, either to use or deal as needed. Next year has to show improvement – a lot of it, too. I don’t just mean their record and point total, either. They need to have more options than, “pound the flanks and look for crosses.” That’s a great tool to have in the box, certainly. But it shouldn’t be the only tool. Those are the things I’m going to measure Hackworth by as next season goes on: how does his roster look when he has a full salary budget? Has the style changed to something slightly less defensive minded? Have they added new options in the attack? And of course, are they earning enough points per game to make the playoffs, preferably as a top 3 side.
      I’m not sure if this puts me in the pro-hack, anti-hack, or who-gives-a-damn camps. So take it for what you will.

  4. Hack’s nose seems to grow after each press conference…

  5. I like how he’s saying “you” when talking about getting wins and scoring goals, instead of “we”. Like he’s realized the team can’t do it anymore so he’s subtly reaching out to the fans and pleading for them to win for the team.

  6. Hack put himself in the position of not being able to play Torres now by not playing him earlier. How does Roger feel when his coach says putting him in will be in desperation?

    • @ Matt,
      I agree completely! And I don’t buy his answers on Torres (or Kleberson) for a second.

      It’s not plausible to think that Coach Hackworth DOESN’T see the irony when he answers, in essence:

      Q: Why have you refused to play Torres or Kleberson?
      A: Because they haven’t played enough.


  7. I don’t like to curse when making a point, I think it makes you sound stupid, but I really fucking hate Hackworth every time he opens his mouth. Doing these press conferences is the worst idea for him bc all he does is make himself look like a lying, clueless, halfwit.
    Btw, expect the same lineups for the rest of the year…

  8. Obv. Hack is really butt hurt over the called back goal. Isn’t that a sign of trouble? Any seasoned coach is willing to move past something like that and admit “Hey, look we’re in a slump we need to step Sh*t up”

    My favorite part of the entire lie. “I Wouldn’t want to go to Desperate lengths and play guy’s we’ve haven’t played all year” Funny because he seems to go to desperate lengths to keep playing the same guys who have been ineffective all year.

    Get ready for a exciting kickball match friday night in chester!

  9. Wait? 3 goals not called? I know of the one in the last game and the Casey disallowed goal but what was the 3rd?

  10. Coach Hackworth’s answers to the questions regarding Roger Torres and Kleberson illustrate PRECISELY why his reasoning is so frustrating to the fans!!

    Simply put: those two players are lacking playing minutes at this point….because the coach should have allowed them more playing minutes at a MUCH EARLIER POINT IN THE SEASON.

    There two reasons that this seems like(his words) a “desperate situation”:
    1. Because of Hackworth’s stubbornness and inflexibility with the starting 11. And…
    2. Because it IS A DESPERATE SITUATION!!! We are OUT OF PLAYOFF CONTENTION right now for Goodness sake!!

  11. I’m choosing to believe Hack is delusional. Maybe having acid flashbacks or something. The alternative is that he thinks we are all complete morons and believe the total bullshit that he spews whenever there’s a mic in front of him. His team management is highly questionable but his insulting quotes each week are even more infuriating.

  12. Hmmm, calls didn’t go our way, has he considered that our opponents have had red cards 9-1 this year?

    Union are slumping. Perhaps the team overperformed due to the calls we were getting through early July.

  13. “Kleberson should not play because if you look back on the season, you can see he has not been playing much.”

  14. I want to see beautiful football as much as the next guy. But for all you guys calling for Hack’s head: do you really think that the rest of our team could play the style the suits Torres and Kleberson without leaving huge gaping defensive holes? Maybe Keon and Fabinho could play the possession link-up style with them, but who else would fit into that system well? I agree, a lot of our recent play is ugly, frustrating and maddening, but I don’t think we have a better option. We are not a technically gifted team, but we do have some pretty good athletes who can create chances on the counter. Hack is playing to their strengths. I don’t think he’s the greatest ever (too early to make big judgements in my opinion), but he’s hardly the ‘hack’ most of the comments make him out to be.
    It really boils down to what result we want to see. If we care most about points (not goals), then Hack is doing a decent job. If we would all rather see exciting attacking football, and lose games by scorelines of 6-3, then you’re right, he’s doing a terrible job.

    • I just want to be excited to watch the Union play again. This season has been such a chore and as a result I haven’t watched as many games compared to last year.

    • I care about points. But Hack hasn’t been putting the team in a position to get many of those either.

    • Last time I checked we weren’t exactly killing it defensively. Also, we have 5 players who ONLY play defense !!! If Carroll can’t play md well enough behind an attacking player then he can’t be on the team anymore

  15. John O'Donnell says:

    Andy Reid must have taught Hack how to run a press conference. Four years in and the Union now have a history of NOT playing their highest played players. In MLS where you have to make the most of the salary cap, this is killing the team.

    • Why would you play someone based on their paycheck and not their performance? Failure of contracts yes; coaching, no.

      • What about bc they’re better?

      • Exactly!! Performance! And why would you continue to play players who do not perform?

        When he was forced (and lets be honest, thats the only reason, he thought Leo Freaking Fernandes was a better option) to play Kleberson, the midfield clicked. We all noticed something else too, how effective Brian Carroll was once again.When Carroll has an outlet going forward, he doesn’t play out of position as much. Kleberson provided that. With Keon, BC’s got a player to knock it around with 5 yards next to him. And the team’s performance suffers. So it isn’t the fact they’re wasting a half million on the bench eating shrimp, it is that the team performed better. Who cares if he’s a defensive liability? So is Jack, it isn’t his role either. That’s for Carroll. Best defense is a good offense anyway. If we possess the ball (something we dont do well or even mention anynore), we don’t have to defend. We talk about MTL’s form in that 0-0 draw, but we forget, we were the team that needed points and we let them dictate the game as they held the ball 65% of the time. Performance, something this team hasn’t turned in in months, and that is why changes should be made.

  16. 1 goal in 5 games and he thinks no radical change is required?! Looks to me like we’ll only end up with 7 points over the last 5 games based on his strategy and past performance. If we do get 11 and get into the play-offs then call me wrong and keep Hack for another season.

  17. Ya see, I get what your saying in your should hackworth be fired article, but every time he opens his mouth, I get angry. This quoteaheet is no exception.

  18. Hackworth’s mom (or wife) needs to get off this site and stop posting. Your son (husband) sucks and I want him fired!

  19. Apparently no one else on the team can start over the usual 11 because the haven’t had enough playing time all season. WOW, can you see the irony in that! :-/

  20. Apparently no one else on the team can start over the usual 11 because they haven’t had enough playing time all season. WOW, can you see the irony in that! :-/

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