Commentary

Assessing Nick Sakiewicz and what comes next

Photo: Earl Gardner

“The idea of people saying I’d be fired like (former D.C. United chief executive) Kevin Payne was fired is comical.”
— Nick Sakiewicz to PSP, February 2014

Nick Sakiewicz’s sudden departure as Philadelphia Union chief executive leaves Union fans with one less pinata to beat around.

Well, that is, after they’re done giving that pinata one final beating.

Thursday’s reports of Sakiewicz’s pending firing set off shouts of jubilation from critics, but it also prompted some scattered strong defenses of Sakiewicz in response.

Rightly or wrongly, Sakiewicz has over the last two years become the face of everything that fans believed wrong with the Union. From the disastrous Rais Mbolhi transfer and problems with the Chester city government to current and former Union employees’ quiet, behind-the-scenes whispers of what really went on at the club, significant problems were often attributed to Sakiewicz.

A PSP poll in October 2014 found that 63 percent of respondents wanted Sakiewicz fired.

A fan protest of the team’s poor performance harshly targeted Sakiewicz this past May, criticizing his impact upon the Union and his past clubs in New York and Tampa.

Photo By Earl Gardner

Fan protests in May 2015 targeted Sakiewicz. (Photo: Earl Gardner)

Some thought Sakiewicz’s minority stake in ownership made him untouchable, including Sakiewicz himself, who told me last year, “The idea of people saying I’d be fired like (former D.C. United chief executive) Kevin Payne was fired is comical.”

That statement itself says a lot about Sakiewicz and what went wrong for him in Philadelphia. In large part, as it did with former Union manager Peter Nowak, it came down to hubris.

Evaluating Nick Sakiewicz

Sakiewicz’s legacy with the Union will include some important benchmarks.

  • He oversaw the construction of PPL Park in the midst of a national financial crisis.
  • He oversaw the establishment of a functioning (albeit often dysfunctional) MLS franchise.
  • He approved the creation of the club’s then-groundbreaking youth development structure and minor league affiliations. Yes, the vision almost certainly derived from then-assistant coach and former U.S. U-17 national team coach John Hackworth, but Sakiewicz and then-manager Peter Nowak had the foresight to make the plan reality.

But so many things went wrong that it’s hard to grade Sakiewicz in the positive on the whole. If you had to list a top three, it would probably be:

  1. Extending Peter Nowak’s contract after the 2011 season, a year before the contract expired, despite warning signs about Nowak. Nearly four years later, the team still hasn’t recovered.
  2. The Rais Mbolhi signing.
  3. Many fans neither trust nor like Sakiewicz.
Extending Peter Nowak's contract too early proved disastrous for Sakiewicz and the Union. (Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz)

Extending Peter Nowak’s contract too early proved disastrous for Sakiewicz and the Union. (Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz)

His hiring of Nowak was initially a good choice on paper, as he had been the U.S. Olympic coach in 2008, won a Supporters Shield and MLS Cup in three years coaching D.C. United, and had been a successful player. Nowak led the Union to the playoffs in their second season before going off the rails, at which point he discarded the team’s most popular players, made questionable acquisitions that tied the club to even more questionable contracts, and allegedly skimmed money from player transfer fees.

The mistake wasn’t in hiring Nowak, but rather extending his contract after the 2011 season and, perhaps more importantly, giving him wide-ranging freedom with little oversight. This led to Nowak’s firing and high-profile lawsuit against the club, as well as the controversies that severely damaged the club’s reputation.

Sakiewicz should have never approved that extension so early, because warning signs were already clear by fall 2011. Few could have predicted just how far astray Nowak would go, but as soon as he got that extension, Nowak imploded the club. Four years later, the team has not fully recovered.

Subsequently, Sakieiwicz lost credibility with many Union fans after the Mbolhi transfer and Sakiewicz’s refusal to claim responsibility for it, but many already didn’t trust or like him by that point. As I wrote last year:

Many Union observers just don’t trust him.

On one day, Sakiewicz may bluntly articulate some remarkably insightful viewpoints on why familiarity with MLS is important for new MLS coaches or be the first top executive to call out Toronto FC for their spendthrift ways, and people will love it.

Then another day, he’ll say something just patently unbelievable. That’s a fairly unacceptable sin in a straight-talking, blue-collar place like Philadelphia.

Anyone who thought the buck stopped with Jim Curtin on the Rais Mbolhi signing is delusional. You don’t need inside knowledge to determine that isn’t true. What team would let an interim coach make the final call on a major signing to replace a good, young starter? None. Hence, his distancing from the Mbolhi signing comes across as disingenuous.

That was the beginning of the end for Sakiewicz. And with the team unable to salvage a trophy, the playoffs, or even a general manager hiring, the end of the end has finally arrived.

As well it should have.

This was the right time for Sakiewicz to go

Many wanted him out earlier, but this was the right time for Sakiewicz to go. Sakiewicz was probably never as bad as his critics say, but he was never as good as he thought he was either. He had spent all his political capital with fans and the club itself. At this point, he had become a net negative for the club, at least in terms of public perception, and there had been quiet criticism of him behind the scenes at the club for years.

“I and the other owners want to assure you that we are committed to winning,” Union principal owner Jay Sugarman said in an open letter to fans today. “We can also assure you that we will make mistakes – but we will acknowledge them, learn from them, and correct them until we succeed.”

Sakiewicz amounts to one such correction.

Photo by Earl Gardner

Sakiewicz was never as bad as critics thought but never as good as he thought. (Photo: Earl Gardner)

Those who say that Sakiewicz is merely a scapegoat for Jay Sugarman’s failure to spend enough money on players are wrong for two reasons.

  • First, this league is about playing Moneyball, and the Union have not played it well enough, repeatedly making poor personnel and spending decisions. Only during John Hackworth’s tenure did they consistently get this side of the game right. They overpaid for Mbolhi, Freddy Adu, and others. They missed affordable left backs like Corey Ashe and Justin Morrow. They threw away money on a pricy goalkeeper last year when they needed a striker. And they failed to hire a general manager when it became clear they needed one, wasting more money on consultant Rene Meulensteen in what amounted to little more than public relations.
  • The Union have spent enough money to field a playoff team. Maybe not a championship team, but certainly one good enough to make the playoffs in a weak Eastern Conference. They currently rank 14th in team payroll in MLS but have typically ranged in those rankings anywhere from 6 to 11. Could the Union spend more on players? Absolutely. At this point, they need to win enough on the current payroll to boost attendance, merchandise sales, and fan morale to their former highs, which in turn will increase revenues and convince ownership that they have a growth model justifying larger investment. Think Portland and Kansas City. It wasn’t so long ago that we were seriously talking about how the Union needed to expand PPL Park to 25,000 seats. Realistically, there are enough soccer fans in the region to regularly fill that big a stadium.

We are not privy to everything that occurs behind the scenes at a club, but anyone paying close attention to this club could detect the rot at its foundation. Something big had to change. We’ll find out over time whether this move was big enough.

What next?

Union ownership now has an opportunity to remake their image and their club culture, and that starts with key personnel hirings.

Replace Sakiewicz on the business side: The Union have to replace Sakiewicz at the head of the club’s business side. Longtime team executive Dave Rowan will step up during the short-term while team ownership looks for a longer term solution and structure. One intriguing possibility could be well-regarded minority owner Richie Graham as a team president, even if it’s a part-time role and accompanied by a full-time chief operating officer to run the business side. Graham was a driving force behind the creation of the Union’s high school academy and has credibility in the community through his role as owner of the YSC Sports training complex.

Hire a GM: The team must hire a general manager to focus on player personnel. Nearly a year after principal Union owner Jay Sugarman said he planned to hire one, there remains none in place. In all likelihood, this week’s Zambrano certainly was among the finalists.

Sugarman said in today’s open letter, “We are committed to finding the right person for the Sporting Director position, and we want this person in place as soon as possible, to impact the upcoming player decisions needed to strengthen our roster and to oversee increased integration of all soccer operations. We are working to have this role filled by the end of the year.”

Requirements for the GM should include vision, creativity, intelligence, and understanding of MLS player personnel rules. Equally important is for this person to be a media-savvy, friendly face who can clearly articulate a vision to Union fans and then carry it out. The Union must demonstrate some vision and imagination with this hire.

Determine Curtin’s future as manager: With Sakiewicz out, this decision could linger on until a new chief executive and/or GM are hired. That’s a problem. But it also increases the likelihood of and justification for Curtin leading the team into training camp. He has yet to prove he has the tactical chops to run a successful club, but he has so many other pieces required of a good head coach that many are inclined to be patient with him. His supporters offer hopeful Ben Olsen comparisons. His critics don’t.

Former Union assistant coach Brendan Burke. (Photo: Earl Gardner)

Former Union assistant coach Brendan Burke. (Photo: Earl Gardner)

Hire a coach for the USL club in Bethlehem, preferably Brendan Burke: When former Union assistant Brendan Burke showed up at PPL Park a few days before the Union announced the launching of a USL club in Bethlehem, some of us drew the conclusion that he was a candidate to lead the team. If so, nobody’s saying that publicly. But without question, he would be an ideal selection, and the Union should bring him back to the fold. His extraordinarily successful track record at Reading United, combined with his youth, intellect, experience as an assistant with the Union, reputation among players, and demonstrated ability to network throughout the PDL and college ranks to identify top players make him a great candidate.

Public relations and substance: There are plenty of public relations moves the Union can make to re-energize and reassure the fan base, and certainly, they need a marketing maestro to manage an image that has been severely damaged since the club’s early days. But the foundation of any improvement will be substance. Philadelphia fans want a winner, but they also want a team that doesn’t come across as dysfunctional. The right people in the right positions will make a big difference.

58 Comments

  1. The Wolves are out in force after Sakiewicz got fired. People are ready to tell stories about him now that he is out of power.
    .
    Also I think to day is a national holiday in the country of Tannenwaldia.

  2. Funny how all those times I would see pictures of Mr. Sugarman and think..”man the dude just looks in a fog – as if he doesn’t give a shit and is aloof.” Then I’d make the tousled hair cornflower blue tie crack and move on with my day to find something else to skewer the club about.
    .
    Maybe the look was actually one of disdain and not being at all happy with the state of his franchise. Prove me right sir.
    .
    Glued to the keyboard today folks- – this is just too important.
    .
    “What kids? You’re hungry you say? Eat nails.”

    • He has a very Jim Jarmusch vibe to him.
      Well Jim Jarmusch with a 200 dollar hair cut in a track suit.

      • yeah from left to right it’s Sugarman, Jarmusch, and Keith Richards in a stunning this is your face on drugs montage

    • I give zero credit to Punxsutawney Jay for a decision that should have been announced at his last press conference 300X odd days ago. Money talks, BS flies in helis apparently
      .
      The fact that he’s saying he wants a SD in by end of the year is laughable, given that I believe his previous deadline for said position was March 2015. Really followed through on that!

  3. EllisCarver says:

    People always whine about Sugarman not spending money, but I wouldn’t give Sak more money to spend either. He spends foolish money on a goalkeeper in M’Bolhi and then stalls on hiring a sporting director (only to suggest hiring one of his MLS 1.0 acolytes). It’s akin to pouring water in a cup with a hole in the bottom. Restructure the organization, find a Sporting Director, and then we can talk about increasing the payroll.

    • Exactly.

    • Zizouisgod says:

      Spot on. I’ve heard that Sugarman has been a lot more diligent in questioning signings that the FO have wanted to make over the past year because he had been burned so many times in the past. While I think the unrest among the fanbase and the poor results on the field factored into this move, ultimately it came down to the fact that Sugarman didn’t trust Sak any more to run his team. And you can’t really blame him for coming to this conclusion.

      BTW – wouldn’t you have wanted to have been a fly on the wall for those helicopter rides with Garber and Sugarman?

    • this is a very good observation

  4. James Lockerbie says:

    I’ll have my assistant print this out and mail it to Sugarman’s office priority. Title what went wrong/ here’s how to fix.

  5. Neal October 23, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    Final comment from Dan Walsh piece regarding 64% of people wanting Mr. Sakiewicz removed from position. I thought it appropriate and funny then and well…..now.
    .

    “I happened to run into Jay Sugarman. I complimented him on the US Open final. His response was we should have signed a striker. I didn’t even prompt him with a question.
    I don’t blame Sak for the early years of Nowak and Hacksworth. I am sure they see the benefit of having a GM. Hopefully this off season one will appear.”
    .
    .
    For the record…I offer thanks giving to the man today and well wishes. It’s not like he wasn’t important.
    .
    All your positive points are well founded Dan and important to highlight even in light of the many other points many of us argued so strongly regarding the former CEO.

    • I’m sorry but I can’t agree with the positives. Ok, yes, he did those things, whoopee! What is he supposed to get a cookie now? Let’s just take a look…
      .
      1) He oversaw construction of a stadium. This was his job, no? He was supposed to do this, otherwise the Union would be playing in glass riddled dirt by the river. So no credit for just doing his job, for me.
      .
      2)He oversaw creation of a MLS franchise. I mean again, his job. He bought in. Had a piece of the pie. It was his job. Nothing special here. If he hadn’t done it, somebody else would have. Sorry again, no credit.
      .
      3)Youth development system. Ok, here he gets minor credit. The Union led the way with this, but then quickly fell behind. A youth system is nice, if something ever comes out of it. Or if you plan to develop that talent further, which hasn’t had a plan till this year, and won’t start going forward till next year. Partial credit. He had a bright idea, but just didn’t follow through till others around the league showed him the way.
      .
      So in 6 years Sak had a half good idea outside the box. So all the other things he did, any monkey could have done, and some could have done better. He wasn’t a miracle worker. He didn’t win over the community. He didn’t go above and beyond his assigned duties. So please, let the Sak supporters go away with him, if they love him so much. They are just as delusional as he is.

      • el pachyderm says:

        Nobody happier than me All4U… actions don’t exist in a vacuum for good or bad. I give thanks is all. I give well wishes. Looking forward to moving forward.
        .
        That said…as an RN I hope the person I’m standing over providing chest compressions doesn’t think this is just my job. It matters more than that. Like the sweat and funding a person provides to get a franchise up and running matters more than you and I just saying he was just doing his job. It went wrong along the way…give credit where it is due. We don’t have to be so callous today IMO.

      • I applaud your compassion, Senior Elephant.

      • Ok, I give, I’ll give him credit. He showed up and did what he was supposed to do. Feel free to give him that participation trophy they love to hand the kids today.
        .
        And look I’m not really a heartless bastard. If you are someone who sacrifices to help others, either putting yourself in harms way, or saving lives, taking care of the elderly, you get bonus credit from me. These are all things I think are hard to do. Routinely, people in these professions get put in situations where they go above and beyond the call of duty. And not just in situations where they risk or save lives. It can be in the small moments, where they show compassion. The holding of a hand. A hug. Letting an injured patient use your cell phone to call their mother…whatever that seemingly non-important gesture may be. But, in reality, it’s a highly important gesture. It shows one’s human side. The sharing of the human conditon. These things, these gestures, though may be routine, or expected, are exceptional and more meaningful than all the trials of building a stadium.
        .
        So yeah, I’ll check a box saying he showed up and did what he was supposed to. But, I also say thank you for choosing a profession that helps to make lives better. I give you more credit for just walking into a hospital, than for Sak and his whole time here.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        Damn. Well said. This is fun.

  6. Thanks to Sak for being bold and believing in the initial project to bring a MLS team to Philly (The SOB movie is well worth a viewing if you haven’t seen it yet).

    That boldness definitely gave way to an insufferable arrogance (or hubris, as Dan stated) that made him so hard to like. He just always seemed so out of touch with fans, truly believing that he was the smartest guy in the room at all times. It’s definitely time for a change in direction. Thrilled to see the news – wasn’t sure it would ever happen.

    • All this being true I imagine… but I would also like to state that I saw Mr. Sakiewicz many times at YSC just hanging out shooting the breeze with the everyday guy. I have no doubt there was hubris and insufferableness. I also have no doubt there was genuineness as well.

  7. Maybe the problem we had in finding a Sporting Director was that none of the really qualified people wanted to work with Sakiewicz. Telling that the one name we have heard about is a coach who previously worked with Sakiewicz, doesn’t have an overly impressive CV for the job, and was probably desperate enough to put up with Sak’s BS.

  8. Suprised no comment about this video yet. It shows Nick cursing at a fan. Not sure the context, but I’d like to know more about it.

    https://www.facebook.com/edgar.girett/videos/684576504977964/

  9. There are comments above about not giving Sugarman any credit, as this move should’ve happened a long time ago. However, I think we should all consider the fact that Sak’s minority ownership may have made this a non-trivial thing to do. Did he need some support from other minority owners? Does it make it more difficult to own the team, now that you’ve fired one of your co-owners? I don’t know, because I don’t know the team’s inner workings, of course. But it’s worth considering.

    • he would have to be willing to pay Sak for his shares in the club – probably an amount and terms he could calculate from the agreement. It wouldn’t have been a mystery.

  10. Also, Dan, can you say something about the Alejandro Bedoya pursuit in the context of this news? Do you think that news was leaked by Sugarman’s people as a way of showing fans that he really is committed to spending $$ to make a winning club? Or do you think it was a false flag of some kind? Do you think that kind of big-name pursuit be put on hold now until a Sporting Director is identified?

    • No. Sakiewicz probably leaked it — and other previous Union-oriented stories — to Dyer. Dyer has reported a few Union stories using anonymous sources. Leaks often come from the same sources to the same reporters. It’s just the way it works. Relationships get established. It happens in all kinds of news, not just sports.

      And I don’t think they’ll stop pursuing Bedoya. They definitely wanted him. That is legitimate. I got that from a good source too, although I didn’t know Bedoya was the player involved until after Dyer’s report. There’s probably already a consensus to close that deal. Whether they should or not is another story. I liked the move when I first heard about it, but the more I thought about it, the more I wondered about where he’d play, what other player(s) would be pushed out, and how much of an upgrade he would actually be. I’m a bit torn and would probably lean toward getting him anyway, but the price would have to be right.

    • Interesting that you identify Dyer as a Sak confidant, as I was told that Dyer’s brief involvement with the club ended with Nick telling him through intermediates he was no longer welcome back.

      • I could absolutely be wrong. It’s my speculation/deduction. That’s why I said “probably” — I don’t know for sure. I don’t know Dyer personally. And keep in mind, I’m a long way from the flagpole these days. 😉

  11. Old Soccer Coach says:

    “Only during John Hackworth’s tenure did they consistently get this side of the game [personnel and spending decisions – OSC] right.”

    Yes Dan, I am a fussy old academic.

    I agree with the statement quoted above, on the incomplete and limited basis of my own direct observations, but I want a footnote here that tells me whether this conclusion is backed by only your more complete and less limited observations, or whether there is more detailed information available to you that might in some fashion become available to us. When I read the quote the instinctive response was that John Hackworth should be a serious candidate for GM/SD.
    .
    I share your hope for Brendan Burke to return to the organization. There was a story done somewhere by somebody on the draft during which we traded up to take Andre Blake. It was a detailed insider’s view story. Burke was clearly quite important in that draft process, and I was sorry he left.
    .
    Your characterization of Curtin at this moment in his career seemed precise and accurate to me. Hire him an assistant he trusts who has “the tactical chops.” If the stories about Sandberg and Bowa are to be believed that’s exactly what Bowa does for the Phillies, anticipate correctly what the other guy is most likely to do and figure out the most appropriate response.

    • I don’t think Hackworth would return as GM. He has a good job now, is well-suited for it, and can coach without being in the media/fan pressure cooker. And I’m not sure how willing ownership would be to consider a guy they just fired.

      But yes, I think he would be a fantastic candidate. Possibly the best, because he basically laid the philosophical foundation for the Union’s player development infrastructure. The only drawback is potential baggage with some fan critics, but personally, I think that is misguided. As a coach, Hackworth had something more to prove. As a GM, I thought he was terrific. And he was a class act off the field. If I was Sugarman and Hackworth was interested, I would strongly consider hiring him.

      Mind you, I’ve always been far to the left of my PSP colleagues in evaluating Hackworth, so don’t presume that I speak for them. 😉

  12. 700 chopper says:

    Well I am overjoyed that Sak is gone

  13. Thrilled Sak is gone. However, still need them to get on these things of hiring the right people. Lets see there is no CEO, no GM/SD, limited player scouting and other FO positions, questions about the head coach that need to be answered, no USL coach, no USL roster starting, No plan, No philosophy and No vision as El P would say. Its a step in the right direction, but there are so many things in question on this team and it all should be done yesterday as things are said. Player rumors as in Bedoya mean nothing if your organization is in turmoil. Also, while Bedoya is a great player unless your are restructuring the entire midfield what is the reason for adding him. To me only way you sign Bedoya is if you switch to a 4-4-2 once again what this team should be playing. Midfield is a diamond with barnetta, nogs, chaco, bedoya. This midfield then means you have Sapong up top and need to sign a speedy striker like Accam. This also exposes the outside backs meaning Ray needs to get back to being a lock down defender we need a better left back as well (regardless of Fabinho stellar open cup match). So lots of questions so someone in this organization better be getting on these hires and soon. I’m talking this should be before the season is over thus the GM/SD can analyze what he has and what is here.

    • these are all on Sugarman’s plate now. he probably only has to hire the CEO and the GM, then let them go to work. you are correct that it needs to happen immediately – another lengthy “search” will doom the club. appointment of a “consultant” to help with it will lead to open revolt.

      • To me the only thing this lengthy search has told me is they don’t take any of this seriously and they think just saying something will appease the fans. Tired of it something needs to be done NOW or they need to sell in my opinion. Still on the need a whole overhaul of the FO. Don’t get me wrong not talking player overhaul or even coaching staff overhaul just those higher up. (On a side note anyone know how that site that had people donating money to buying the team is doing?)

      • I think we now know there was a lack of alignment between Sugarman and Sak. Sugarman has a day job of trying to run a REIT that once had a market cap over $6B and now is about $1.2B. Sak used to have a day job …

  14. The ultimate question I want to put to everyone: Would you trade the Sak firing for a win in the USOC two days ago? Or would you rather have endured the loss just to get rid of Sak?

    • we cold have had both.

    • Great question. I want to hear people’s views on that. I’ll save my response for later.

      • First of all, it appears that Sak was out regardless of the outcome. Timing may have changed to season end instead of day after Cup loss, but the statements I’ve seen from Mr. Sugarman don’t leave a lot of “gray”, the exit door was open already.
        .
        I am an organizational effectiveness consultant, so I don’t look at these emotionally (nor should they be).
        Answering the question as posed:
        I’d suffer the Cup loss for a Sak removal. His leadership was ineffective. His organizational system was ineffective. These things could have been corrected and changed (I help people do it all the time), but it didn’t happen and it appeared it never would.
        .
        If the team had won that Cup, and all the financial benefits that went with it, I think Sak might have squandered those opportunities and THAT would have really been tragic. I hate to say that, but I haven’t seen much evidence to the contrary.
        .
        There have been some positives this year to be sure, but not so many that they could shine through the clouds of negativity/uncertainty created over the last 2-3 years.
        .
        In my experience, 9 out of every 10 times, people are successful when the system they work in is effective. Sak was in charge of the system.

      • get rid of Sak. Open Cup win would help next year but had to get rid of Sak now to benefit well beyond that. also to create a clean, clear look at exactly what the club is at present. the extra revenue bump and allocation money would distort that.

    • Ask me that question again in 18 months….

    • As happy as I am to have Sak out of the picture, if I’m being absolutely honest with myself, if I have to chose one of those two, I chose the trophy. Even though I know that’s a short-sighted decision.

    • Jim Presti says:

      As of right this moment, I would take the win; however, I’d think my opinion could be changed by next March. I want to see what happens over the next few months. Structural changes, two rosters to fill, better marketing. All of this needs to happen in the next 5 months.

    • Now that a few people have answered …

      The trophy.

  15. James Lockerbie says:

    Having to choose I would say, losing the Cup for Nick’s departure. Think about all of the benefits from winning the Cup Nick would have wasted.

  16. The Chopper says:

    No need to rehash Sak’s shortcomings and errors. They are well documented and he was well past his expiration date. I expect with so many teams in various leagues in the process of trying to build stadiums he will find work soon. He has brought two to fruition and anyone involved with those kinds of projects know that is no easy task. If nothing else, he has done that well.

  17. Clear that drop in STH renewals was the proximate cause of Sak’s ouster. Owners not willing to fund operating deficit. While Jay says they’ve taken nothing out, today’s value (& the future potential in this market) make it a sweet deal still. Better to have had the SD & COO already lined up, but this group may not have had the contacts to find those who wouldn’t work for Sak. No sign Jay is williing to dilute his share for fresh capital, so a real premium is on on buying low/transfering high in the incoming leaders’ ability to judge talent. Today reminds us that this team is closer to a few players away from staying at the bottom of the table than a few away from a chance to get near the top.

    • The Oenophile says:

      I asked this in another thread but have not heard: does anyone know exactly how many STH did not renew for next year as compared to previous years?

      • I don’t. It’s unlikely that information will be made public unless someone within the Union leaks it.

  18. Coach MIke Christ says:

    Where POLITICS begin, PRODUCTION ENDS!!! IF you don’t know what it takes to make a great soccer coach/strategist, how you gonna pick a great team to play for the guy that isn’t??? Nitpicking at all levels BEFORE you even get to the point of developing GREAT SOCCER will condemn the Union to be a cellar dweller for years to come. Too bad the ownership is not knowledgeable of the modern game. Build a ‘soccer school’ with defined objectives and goals. Then EXECUTE! All of the new expansion teams should follow the DC UNITED or the LA GALAXY models when the MLS was formed in 1996. Find a nucleus of players to fit the teams around, then build an offensive passing, defensive alignment around them. No Zone, No Man to Man, Pressure/cover/balance!!!Penetration, Width, Depth. The ono on one situations, for show, are the definition of a system failure on the field. Put out great soccer and wins, instead of cheap shows and discussions of viable competitiveness.

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