Sakiewicz backs Hackworth, calls for fan support

Photo: Earl Gardner. (Nick Sakiewicz with John Hackworth during the 2014 MLS SuperDraft.)

Philadelphia Union CEO Nick Sakiewicz issued a statement before Wednesday’s game in Kansas City in which he once again backed head coach John Hackworth.

Sakiewicz said the team is “scouring the marketplace to find and bring in attacking talent,” and he called on fans to support the team, saying, “This team and group of players needs our ’12th man’ now more than ever.”

Here is the full statement.

Over the past few weeks everyone has grown extremely frustrated by our inability to score and generate more wins. Despite having played some entertaining soccer in this early part of the season the most important statistic — Wins — have obviously not been coming our way in the fashion we desire. Everyone, from our players, coaches, front office and key members of our organization are frustrated over what started out as a promising start and has turned into a rough beginning to the 2014 Major League Soccer campaign. Clearly confidence levels have taken a hit in the last few games.

That being said, we are fighters and our primary goal always is to ensure that we have the best possible players on the field at all times. That is something each person involved with the Philadelphia Union works diligently to accomplish, in addition to making sure that from top to bottom you are treated to a world class experience.

We will fight our way out and regain our confidence. There are many examples across the League’s history of teams that have started out very rough in the beginning only to become part of the League’s elite. We stand behind John Hackworth, each member of the technical staff and the players. We are working everyday with the resources available to us and are confident that with some additional key players this group can become the team we envision it to be. We do not just aspire to be in postseason play, but we are striving for an MLS title someday. I can tell you that as of today, we are very active scouring the marketplace to find and bring in attacking talent that can finish the large number of chances our vastly improved midfield is consistently creating during every game. It is exceedingly frustrating to watch us out play our opponents in just about every offensive category and have the record we have at this point in the season. It is simply not acceptable.

Now is a time to support the guys we have and welcome some new offensive reinforcements when they arrive so they can gain some confidence and get us on a roll. This Team and group of players needs our “12th Man” now more than ever. Our “12th Man” is made up of the best fans in Major League Soccer and in a difficult and crucial time they will lift the confidence of our Team. It’s times like these that make our organization stronger and build the character and resolve that will make lifting a trophy someday that much more sweeter. We appreciate our great fans and we know that many of you share our same frustrations and please know we don’t take your support for granted and are working feverishly with the resources available to us to gain better results in the standings.

Because I know, the best is yet to come.

What do you think of Sakiewicz’s statement? Feel free to comment below.


  1. scottymac says:

    ” We appreciate our great fans and we know that many of you share our same frustrations and please know we don’t take your support for granted and are working feverishly with the resources available to us to gain better results in the standings.”

    This was the first time I can recall that Nick sounded a more conciliatory tone. Usually he comes across arrogant and smug. I do appreciate his tone.

    THat said, show me, don’t tell me. Last night was good, there’s still NER/@LAG/@CHV/VAN to get through. Take 10 out of 12 points and I’d give them time to figure it out.

  2. I guess my feeling is I am dubious of the sincerity of his comments. They feel like the right words to say so he said them.
    I also feel that its sad I am so doubtful of the GM of a team I love.

  3. If anything, I appreciate the effort. Guy could have sat back and said nothing, allow us to assume they are okay with things as is.

    I’m willing to give Sacky Hack another 10 games, but their fates should be aligned. If it doesn’t work, they both gotta go.

  4. It will be interesting to see what will happen during the summer transfer window, or if there are more trades on the way. But what we found out last night (aside from all the positives to be found) was that we now have an incredibly thin bench. Even at full strength (health and attendance), the bench is not impressive. We need to have the best XI out there because they are the best XI, not because they are the least bad.
    I will remain, however, in the minority (I believe), and say that this team will still make the playoffs. There is a lot of talent out there. They’re not letting in a ton of goals, so if they can continue to find the back of the net, good things will follow.

  5. Meh.

  6. “…the best is yet to come.” Hmm…that one had better be obvious to everyone involved, because if the best were already behind us, it’d be a pretty dreary outlook, wouldn’t it?

  7. “We appreciate our great fans and we know that many of you share our same frustrations and please know we don’t take your support for granted and are working feverishly with the resources available to us to gain better results in the standings.” The reason you don’t take our support for granted is because your beginning to seeing a loss in revenue. And glad for the result but im still angry with the current standings.

  8. It’s nice to see the right things said by Ole’ Nick, let’s see him put words into deeds. On a side note: The team has never been without the “12th Man”, we are there every week regardless of standings, record, and quality on the pitch. Our support has always been there even when Nowak was ruining everything. What we can’t stand is the same old ineffective tactics game in game out, not producing results against inferior teams, and players being CLEARLY PLAYED OUT OF POSITION constantly (seriously I cannot stand that shit). Whether all of this is on Hack or the players or both we may never know, but don’t assume we are blind to what we see on the pitch in terms of tactics/personnel decisions or the lack there of. Saying “we’re all frustrated” doesn’t mean anything, what should have been said is “This team has problems and our goal is to fix them asap” frustration indicates that you’re going to continue to try the same things that don’t work.
    With everything said I still have a lot of faith in this team and last night’s win showed some character that’s been lacking lately. I still say give Hack some more time, and hope that this win will launch a run of solid results.

  9. The Black Hand says:

    It was the right thing to say, but it sounds like Charlie Brown’s schoolteacher, to my ears.
    Step YOUR game up, Nick!

  10. Glad the owners are backing a push for a striker. I’d like to them look for a DP in the summer, but in the interim make a trade (allocation money and/or Ethan White). Here are 3 players in the league i’d like us to look at. They all add depth, something new, and are a better option than the current strikers. They’re also all either subs or do not feature in the first team consistently, meaning they could be attainable.

    CJ Sapong – Strong, mobile, and is looking for an extended run of first team football. Could be a great signing at his current pay.

    Kenny Cooper – Watched him a lot since his return to the MLS. Often has blinders on (Doesn’t look to pass), but he’s technically good and has a good shot, and puts himself in positions to score. I think he’d be a great fit. (Seattle would have to pay some of his salary).

    Omar Salgado – young, raw, and unproven. On his day he’s tough to defend. Needs a run of first team play, and could see us getting him on loan for the rest of the season (vs him going to the USL again). Worth a look if they pay most of his salary.


    • hobosocks says:

      The idea that we’d get any of those guys for Ethan White is crazy. If we do bring in an MLS striker with a significant pedigree, you can be sure we won’t be entirely happy about what we have to give up.

      • +1. You get nothing for nothing.
        If you want somebody good in a trade, you have to give up somebody good. Where are we surplus?
        1) RB. We have two high-level guys who would presumably worth real value. But if we trade one of them, we have to sit with Fabinho at LB every game, and we have zero depth at fullback. I don’t think this is wise.
        2) CDM. A real logjam, with Brian Carroll, Maurice Edu, and Amobi Okugo. Edu is likely not tradeable with his salary (plus it would look pretty chaotic after just signing him to a big contract just a few months ago). Okugo is just too valuable a player — I would hope we’d sign him long-term like other homegrown players (Zusi, O. Gonzalez) instead of losing him to Europe. I think most of us would certainly find Carroll surplus, even his supporters, but how much trade value does he have?
        3) GK. We have Zac the Penalty Spot Sensation playing great ball right now, and the alleged “LeBron James of goalkeepers” on the bench. Blake would have real value, and not hurt the current team on the field at all.
        So if you want to make a trade, I think Blake would have to be the bait.

      • Sorry to say it, but I think Okugo or Edu need to go. I would like to keep both of them, but they play the same position. I would be fine with keeping Carroll as a sub for Moe or Amobi. I’m afraid we are not going to make the decision, but one of them(most likely Okugo) will leave on their own and rightfully so. We should move one of those guys to get an equally valuable player in a position we need ie; center back or forward.

      • John Ling says:

        Carroll has value, but only to specific teams. I’ve read comments that suggest NE or Columbus could use him, and if so he has value there. Teams like Seattle, though, would have no use for him and so you wouldn’t even get a pile of used soccer balls for him there.
        If you want to move Brian Carroll – I’m a supporter of his, but I think it’s time to move on – the first step is to find a team where his specific skill set is a match. Once you find that team, you then need to find your desired target(s) on their roster. (Or alternately, you get some other resource – allocation money, draft pick, international slot, etc – and use that in a trade with a different club.)

      • John O'Donnell says:

        I would make that move for Charlie Davies who is sitting on the bench for New England. I would think that the salaries might be close as Davies had a little success early and might still make some money. Although Davies hasn’t done much since his return, he couldn’t be much worse then what we have and it could be addition by subtraction with Carroll and Amobi.

      • hobosocks – I proposed allocation money plus EW. Not EW alone. I did put a bit of thought into the comment before posting 😉

        Allocation money is a big carrot in this league, and we have enough of it to offer. EW is appealing because of his low salary and upside. He’s not making the team, but has the tools to be a good player in the league. Teams recognize this and value this.

        Ang – I like your features based offensive strategy. We could do with any advantage we can get right now.

        I will say I think Le Toux should be played upfront, and I think a big striker like Cooper, CJ, Omar would allow him to run onto balls, and also give him more space to make runs onto crosses. His game is most dangerous when he’s charging into the 6 yard box and outworking defenders. Right now we don’t have a striker with a big enough (or dangerous enough) presence to shift/break up opposing teams defensive positioning. Teams are laying back then countering.

    • I like your picks – they all have first team quality, they just need the right team to give them that chance. White, Blake, Carroll, and Hoppenot might make for interesting trade bait but I hardly think you’d get Sapong, Cooper or Salgado in a straight up swap for any one of them. Also, the notion of both Le Toux and Cooper up top is worth it solely on the basis that their similar appearances may confuse opponents.

  11. I appreciate that Nick reached out to the fans and informed us that they are searching for a goal scorer. Right thing to do when your team is stinking out the joint.

    I do not agree with the keeping Hack around. He is not up to the challenge in my opinion. Too many bone headed decisions over and over again. I don’t care if Hack became coach of Barcelona or Real Madrid and had the best players in the world. He still would be proven to be an inferior coach. Even if you have the right players, you also need the right coach. Just look and Manchester United’s situation.

    Nick needs to be looking for the next coach while he’s looking for the next forward. Hopefully he is, and just can’t tell us that.

  12. Sounds good Nick but I’ll believe it when I see it. I don’t want some old MLS striker either. Please open the pocketbook and look to Europe

  13. You need a goal scorer? You think Nick?
    Only if you can take away from your busy schedule of bullying poor residents of Chester from their minor parking lot revenue.

  14. OneManWolfpack says:

    Such negativity. Damn. People, relax. Healthy skepticism and questions are one thing, but down right anger and completely writing off the FO is a bit much.
    This team needed to upgrade the midfield in the off season. It did. It spent money for, really, the first time in its existence. I’m not happy with Hack and personally wouldn’t mind seeing him replaced but in all honesty he isn’t going anywhere this season. We have enough talent on this roster to make the playoffs and the players sure week to enjoy playing for Hack.
    Let’s see what they do in the transfer window in regards to adding a striker and what happens in the next month before the World Cup break. Another win this Saturday would be impressive. Let’s keep it rolling boys!
    My point is let’s relax and enjoy. Be critical, but not insane.

  15. I like how Sak thinks they are playing “entertaining soccer”. He is confusing frustrating with entertaining. Watching players not connect on passes and not score is not entertaining.

    If this was Hackworth’s team, as Sak said has said many times before, how is it not Hackworth’s fault they need to scour the marketplace for a scorer in the middle of the season?
    I do give Sak credit for making this statement, you would never hear this from the Eagles or Phillies ownership.

    Last night’s win was promising, let’s just hope they can keep it up. Right now that is more hope then confidence.

  16. For those of you high on Okugo’s midfield play, good chance we won’t see him back in midfield this season unless more personnel issues arise? Anyway, we win one game and all is right in Unionville? I’m not buying it. We were due for a win just based on the number of games played, but I’m not convinced, nor should anyone else be. Look what it took to finally rally this team!!!! Win convincingly on Saturday and build some momentum and confidence. We still don’t have a goal scorer. Danny Cruz will most likely not find the back of the net for the rest of the season.

  17. msg24365 says:

    After this summer, I will give the guy the benefit of the doubt. I don’t think anyone can dispute that they went, spent money well and improved the team. We are not LA, NY, TOR or SEA in terms of financial backing and will not be landing a super high profile player (like Lampard or Kaka). Given their success, especially with Nogs, I think they deserve our patience, at least in the short term.
    There were a few recognizable striker names in that article from a couple months ago about TOR landing Defoe. Maybe one of them could be on the radar.

  18. Obviously a carefully crafted PR statement, but I do appreciate the transparency and willingness to inform the fans as to what they’re up to (in this case, hitting the market for attacking help).

  19. One win does not make him a good manager. He needs to be fired.

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