The Philadelphia Union's tumultuous season has reached its breaking point.
Peter Nowak is out as the Union's coach and vice president of soccer operations, club CEO Nick Sakiewicz announced at a press conference at PPL Park on Wednesday afternoon. The dismissal, which was first reported by the Philadelphia Daily News, has made way for assistant John Hackworth to take over both of Nowak's roles in the interim for a club that has failed to meet lofty expectations in the opening portion of its third year of existence.
"Peter is an incredible coach," Sakiewicz said. "But over a period of time we determined that we were no longer on the same page between ownership and Peter's philosophy of managing the team."
Nowak's future with the club came under the spotlight in recent days, with reports out of Scotland stating that Nowak applied for the opening with Scottish Premier League club Heart of Midlothian — reports that Nowak vehemently denied to the Daily News.
Nowak was also under plenty of heat for personnel decisions that have not panned out, with the 2011 playoff team off to a 2-7-2 start in 2012, including becoming then-winless Toronto FC's first victim this season. Trades of Sebastien Le Toux and Danny Califf have not gone over well with the Union's rapidly souring fanbase, and the club's young, complementary pieces have yet to put it all together to achieve consistent results.
Nowak, the only manager in the Union's young history, becomes the second MLS coach to lose his job in the last week after Aron Winter was ushered out of Toronto FC in favor of Paul Mariner. Nowak was supposed to coach the MLS All-Stars against Chelsea next month, but those plans will have to be altered.
Nelson Rodriguez, MLS executive vice president of competition and game operations, issued a statement regarding the All-Star Game, saying, "As we only just became aware of the Philadelphia Union coaching change, we will take the appropriate time to consider who should lead the MLS All-Stars against UEFA Champions Chelsea FC on July 25 at PPL Park.”
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