The Peter Nowak era in Philadelphia is over and nobody is happier than the Union fans. The first ever manager of the Union has resigned - probably to avoid being fired - after a year of moves that tore apart a young up-and-coming team and left them as one of the worst in MLS. John Hackworth, Nowak's top assistant, will take over on an interim basis.
Nowak was named Philadelphia manager in 2009 and led them in their expansion season in 2010. After winning a MLS Cup with DC United, expectations were high for Nowak in Philadelphia and early on things went well. They weren't good in 2010, but that was with a young team that improved and it showed in 2011 when they went to the Eastern Conference final.
But everything started to fall apart for Nowak as he inexplicably tore his team to pieces beginning last year and continued until he resigned. Jordan Harvey was shipped out mid-2011 and the offseason saw Sebastien Le Toux and Kyle Nakazawa traded away. Danny Mwanga was traded last week too, but nothing was more curious than Nowak's relationship and treatment of club captain Danny Califf.
Nowak benched his captain earlier this season for an injury Califf said he didn't have, then traded away his captain. It was just more of the same from Nowak, whose moves can best be described as puzzling, and that is being kind.
The result of all of Nowak's moves is a 2-7-2 record that has them second to bottom of the Eastern Conference, a gigantic plunge from last year. The fans began calling for Nowak's ouster weeks ago and now it has happened.
Hackworth takes over a team that is badly in need of stability, but also wins. If they do not get hot soon, they will be out of the playoff race by the end of the summer. Hackworth has never managed a MLS team before, but did manage United States youth teams and was an assistant on the U.S. senior team before joining Nowak's staff.