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Peter Nowak out as Philadelphia Union manager

Peter Nowak

Philadelphia Union head coach Peter Nowak signals to his team in the first half of a MLS soccer match against the Seattle Sounders FC, Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011, in Seattle. The Union beat the Sounders, 2-0. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)


Things to take away from today’s announcement that Peter Nowak is no longer coach of the Philadelphia Union.

  • If you want to fire a manager and keep to hullabaloo about it all to a minimum, do it during a major global tournament, when the eyes of fans everywhere are cast elsewhere (preferably smack in the middle of a meeting between two tourney favorites.)
  • Nowak was the only manager Philadelphia has had; the Union came into MLS in 2010.
  • Philly fans have a special relationship with their players and coaches, and this one started strong. But Nowak’s curious personnel moves became harder and harder to justify. Trading away Sebastien LeToux and then, later, captain Danny Califf, left fans utterly exasperated, struggling to unlock the bigger purpose of it all.
  • Nowak will take the full force of the blow, but in all honesty its hard to say who makes the personnel calls around PPL Park. Is it Nowak or managing general partner Nick Sakiewicz, or something in between?
  • A press conference Wednesday shed no real light on that question.
  • There’s still a base of young talent there for John Hackworth, the interim manager, to mold – but it’s less than what he might have had four or five months ago.
  • This puts a fresh spin on disputed, recent reports that Nowak just applied to be manager of Scottish club Hearts. Nowak labeled those reports “absolutely false.”
  • He is the second MLS manager within two weeks to lose his job; Toronto coach Aron Winter was fired last week.