John Hackworth’s Weekly Presser 4-29-14

Drew Hallowell

Philadelphia Union Manager John Hackworth sits down with the press at a random time each week determined by nothing in particular. Here’s what he said this week.

After another disappointing performance from his team, John Hackworth acknowledged the frustrations emerging from his team to start the press conference. Hailing the team's belief and their ability to make the final play. Hackworth did admit that the opportunity to make the final play has not been taken as of yet in this young season and each player bears the weight of that responsibility very seriously.

After a question suggesting passiveness in fixing issues, a question that provoked Hackworth into what I interpreted as annoyance, John suggested that there is a balance in fixing what isn't working and promoting what is. That balance has not been found as of yet and, in a very Andy Reid-esque fashion, he took responsibility for the mistakes that haven't been fixed.

About the 1-0 defeat to Montreal

Hack revealed that the team went into Montreal looking to dictate the pace of the game and control the tempo as they have all season. His injection of Danny Cruz and Fabinho into the line-up was a tactical decision by his staff as their athleticism would lend to the Union's ability to dictate the game. Cruz was praised by his manager, who pointed out that he was one of the bright spots in Saturday's match and that Cruz wasn't credited enough for his soccer ability.

Hackworth's man crush on Cruz continued when he said he believes that Danny brings "the right energy" to the game and Hack's beloved hustle stats. I have to agree with Hackworth in the idea that Danny played well in his debut this season, he still needs to improve his touch, but here's to hoping this isn't the only game Cruz shows up in.

Continuing with the game on Saturday, Hackworth believes that Montreal was a team with high expectations heading into the season. Where he got that from, I'm unsure, but he thought it was clear that even at home Montreal respected the Union and dropped their line deeper to anticipate the Union attack. I'm not so sure that is why Montreal dropped their line, I think it was more so to do with the early goal that was scored (Hack admitted that Felipe goal threw a wrench in the game plan), more so to with the Union's lack of finishing, and more so to do with their success countering in the last meeting.

The Fabinho Show

John did stop short of praising Fabinho on Saturday. He chose to praise our left-sided player by slighting the officials for not pulling out the yellow card "3 or maybe even 4" times on an undisclosed Montreal player and credits Fabinho for drawing those fouls.

Hackworth continued his discussion about Fabinho's position further up the field and how he views Fabinho's role on the team. Hackworth contradicted himself a little during the press conference, first mentioning he thinks Fabinho is better coming from a deeper role where he can attack up and down the flanks, I would presume as a defender. Later, however, Hackworth stated he doesn't really view Fabinho as a defender, and that he has had success being an attacking player up the pitch. He cited Fabinho's career up until the A-League, where he was an attacker, as his proof.

Oh, Maidana

On a question about Cristian Maidan's playing time, Hackworth responded with statements all too familiar with our last designated player. I had to stop myself from yelling, "KLEBERSON! KLEBERSON! KLEBERSON!" at my phone as I watched. Citing Maidana's kids, Hackworth went through the process of assimilating Maidana to the league. Maidana's lack of fitness, good sleeping and eating habits, awareness, and work ethic were among the issues the coaching staff needed to improve in the Argentine playmaker. Hack blamed cultural habits as the reason for these issues, but did credit Maidana for improving week to week.

Tossed Salad and Scrambled Eggs

Onto Seattle, where Hackworth agreed with most that the Sounders are the hottest team in the league right now. Seattle is also one of the toughest places in the league to play, Hack points out, not only because of the loud fans, but also the playing surface is tough. Hackworth just fell short of calling the turf at CenturyLink Field a carpet only to say that this fixture presents an opportunity for Philadelphia. He thinks this week is set up more in favor for his team in the fact that Seattle will look to dictate the game and that more space will be available for the Union to exploit. He noted that winning the midfield battle against Osvaldo Alonso and company up in Cascadia.

Tidbits

-          Hackworth echoed previous statements and mentioned that the tides will change in their favor and blamed lady luck and the cruel game of soccer for the Union's shortcomings this season.

-          Hackworth dismissed the idea that the Union will find 1 set of guaranteed starters this season, said he doesn't view the game in that way. Hack said changes in the line-up are tactical decisions and that a uniform starting XI won't happen this season.

-          Hack talked about Clint Dempsey coming back to the league and his fine form. He hopes Deuce doesn't continue it against the Union and believes him and others (Maurice Edu and Michael Bradley) returning to MLS is good for the league.

-          INJURY REPORT: Grandpa Fred is still suffering from creaky joints, a colonoscopy, and those damned kids on his lawn. He is questionable for the game against Seattle.

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