Union Notes: Nowak not thinking about Le Toux, Califf “good to go”, and more

PeterNowak (Getty)

By JOEY SAMUEL

For two years, Sebastien Le Toux was the leading scorer and face of the franchise for the Philadelphia Union. The first season without him has seen the team's worst start in its short history. But coach Peter Nowak isn't thinking at all about the fact that Le Toux will return to face his former club at PPL Park this Saturday.

In his weekly press conference with reporters on Wednesday, Nowak quickly dismissed the importance of the fans' reception of Le Toux when he takes the field Saturday as a member of the Vancouver Whitecaps.

"Are you being serious or are you joking?" said Nowak. "Because I could look at it from two different perspectives. I don't know, maybe confetti, maybe banners, maybe a parade? Who knows? I have no idea. I am focused on our responsibilities."

After the first three games of the 2012 season, Philadelphia has zero points, its worst start in franchise history. And finishing in front of goal has been a particular problem, one that has many fans missing their former top scorer.

"I am sick of this 'face of the franchise' crap," Nowak said. "You know who is the face of the franchise? Our fans who come every week to support us. They are the face of this franchise. That's who we play for, not some individual player. I'm not dumb. I know fans loved (Le Toux) and will cheer him, but at the end of the day, it's about the team, our team, and that's where the focus should be."

NOWAK DECLARES CALIFF FIT FOR SATURDAY

After a bizarre feud and mysterious knee injury left Danny Califf out of the Union's last two games, it appears he will be back for the team's home game against Vancouver on Saturday.

"[He] is good to go," Nowak said "I think he's good. I think there's a good chance he'll play."

Nowak surprised everyone two weeks ago when he left Califf out of the starting lineup in the team's home opener against Colorado. He cited a need to rest Califf after offseason knee surgery, but Califf said that he was as surprised as anyone when he didn't play. The two made up in the days following that loss, but Califf once again was left out of the team's third game, a 1-0 away loss to Chicago.

OLYMPIC PLAYERS RETURN, BUT ADU NOT READY

While the U.S. under-23 national team suffered a devastating result in not qualifying to the 2012 Olympics, it wasn't necessarily bad news for Philadelphia. They will enjoy the return of three key contributors in right back Sheanon Williams and midfielders Freddy Adu and Amobi Okugo.

But while Williams will be expected to return to the starting lineup and Okugo will also be available, Adu's status is still up in the air. Nowak said that Adu's three starts in five days with the Olympic team meant he may not be ready for Saturday's match.

"It's not an easy situation for these guys. I know how disappointed they all are," said Nowak. "But they are coming back to work and Freddy played long minutes in all three games in a very short period of time, and we are going to assess that and see where he is physically. The physical part only surrounds Freddy.

"I am sure Freddy would like to be a part of the team, but we need to talk to him first and assess where he is physically, and then we'll make our decision from that."

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21 Responses to Union Notes: Nowak not thinking about Le Toux, Califf “good to go”, and more

  1. UnionJames says:

    I am pretty surprised Williams didn’t even sniff the field for the OC games. I mean, the defense as a whole was TERRIBLE, and I am surprised Porter thought so little of Williams that he didn’t give him a chance.
    I mean, coming from a Union fan this may not mean as much, but I totally think he had something to offer BEFORE the games – and after seeing how our defense looked during the course of the tournament, I KNEW he had something to offer.
    It just that his skills sets counteract the skill sets of others. Sarkodie got burned so much (for all his speed) – Williams is a defense first RB who does not often lose his mark. Valentine was an offensive black hole – Williams is fully capable of contributing to the offense when the time is right.

  2. cajun says:

    Nowak is in serious need of psychiatric help.

  3. T.Dot says:

    Well the team looks terrible without the ‘face’ of the franchise and the fans are pissed about the way you’re treating very important individual players. (ie. Califf) He better turn this thing around quick because the offseason player moves combined with these listless performances arent gonna cut it.

  4. CorkSoccer says:

    +1

  5. Dinho says:

    Califf needs to move teams. Playing for Nowak is no way to end your career. The Galaxy would be a great fit (slot right in for Omar and he’d be back at home). Now, there’s a place to finish out your playing days. And, we would welcome you with open arms, Danny!

  6. Juan says:

    Freddy needs to get a long way away from Nowak. He’s had the better part of a week off by Saturday and hes a professional. He should be good to go…. that is if Nowak really wants him to go

  7. Polo says:

    “I am sure Freddy would like to be a part of the team, but we need to talk to him first and assess where he is physically, and then we’ll make our decision from that.”

    Adu looked as fit as anyone else, in fact he was the only reason the United States came back at all.

    You’re a clown, Nowak. He’s one of the most technically sound players the US has ever produced and you just trash the kid at every opportunity.

    God I’m so glad he isn’t coaching the Fire.

  8. PD says:

    “it’s about the team, our team, and that’s where the focus should be.”

    Yes, yes it should, but I am not seeing ewhat I would call a team right now, I’m seeing talented but confused and tentative players. Better start working a little hard on that “team” think you allege is so important, Mr. Nowak.

  9. PD says:

    nah. he got blustery when someone asked him a pressing question. it’s what any wounded animal does when it knows it’s in danger. perfectly healthy reaction if you live in a cave.

  10. RLW2020 says:

    wow thats three comments in a row citing 3 different players saying should get away from Nowak.. sounds like Le Toux was lucky to get shipped off.

  11. eddie says:

    Damn this man is clueless. Get the fook out Nowak. The fans are not in agreement with you. No way, Nowak, is whacked.

  12. WK says:

    Nowak sounds mighty defensive when answering those tough questions, doesn’t he? and no wonder after trading away your best goal scorer and your team is O-fer to start the new season. also sounds like he’s a terrible man-manager, having alienated 2-3 of the Union’s best players. I imagine he’s out in short-order if they don’t turn it around soon.

  13. Johnny Ramone says:

    Nowal is a deeply disturbed man and a poor judge of talent. Philly won’t win 8 games this year & he’ll be fired.

  14. agnigrin says:

    Welcome to the MLS Philadelphia Union. The honeymoon is over…

  15. Joey Ramone says:

    I say he’s gone by mother’s day.

  16. Machista Gay says:

    Dude, you are too nice. You’ve see Williams play and yes Philly has been losing but not because of him, the guy is a beast. He is better than Zach Loyd right now. Has a mean streak too, toughness.

    As far as the offensive end, he is more than capable at the U-23 level/MLS etc to contribute by picking the right spots.

    I can’t think of a better American RB in the league right now. Chance Myers is not better.

    Who do you guys see better? Other options off the top of my head :Alston, Chabala, Franklin…

    Okay I might take Wingert over him.

  17. Machista Gay says:

    Is it because RSL has been playing well for a few years, or is Tony Beltran pretty good too?

  18. Ha! I can’t believe copy & paste worked!
    But this is the ranking of users from my site in the fullback section. Williams #8 and Sarkodie #25. Still the fact that the RSL duo is not on here hurts but just shows you how little the amount of love players get from smaller markets, they should definitely be on here. Btw, lol Bornstein #24!

    1 Fabian Johnson
    2 Timothy Chandler
    3 Steve Cherundolo
    4 Daniel Williams
    5 Gotoku Sakai
    6 Eric Lichaj
    7 Alfredo Morales
    8 Sheanon Williams
    9 Adam Henley
    10 Daniel Potts
    11 Zach Loyd
    12 AJ DeLaGarza
    13 Greg Garza
    14 Edgar Castillo
    15 Heath Pearce
    16 Frank Simek
    17 Sean Franklin
    18 Drew Moor
    19 Perry Kitchen
    20 Corey Ashe
    21 Chance Myers
    22 Todd Dunivant
    23 Kevin Alston
    24 Jonathan Bornstein
    25 Kofi Sarkodie

  19. Johnny Ramone says:

    In two years, Philly will be drawing 8,500 fans per game & the SOBS will be six people. Nick Sack is a twit & so is Nowak. It will manifest on the field & in the front office.

  20. Johnny B says:

    I’m not buying another ticket, shirt, etc. until Novak is fired. This guy turns on his players constantly. It’s over!!!

  21. Darwin says:

    Dan Potts at 10?

    Ok, you’re smoking something.

    Man…