The murky situation between Philadelphia Union head coach Piotr Nowak and captain Danny Califf appeared to have turned a positive corner yesterday through statements made at the team's weekly press conference. However, Califf's outspoken ways may have led to a second straight week of being left out of a starting role for the Union.
A source close to the situation informed the Brotherly Game that Califf was not included on Philadelphia's traveling roster for Saturday's game against the Chicago Fire. No reason was given by the source for Califf missing out on the trip to Chicago.
Without Califf in the gameday lineup, veteran defender Chris Albright is set to make his second straight start for the Union, unless the Union either opt for rookie right back Raymon Gaddis.
The move follows comments by Nowak about the Califf's short term, and long term, future in the team's lineup.
"I don't know," Nowak said to Chris Vito, of the Reporter Online, about Califf's role on Saturday. "I think we'll find a good formula to assess the whole thing with our trainers, with our strength and conditioning coach. We'll try to prepare Danny for another 32 weeks, not only for next week or the week after."
Nowak's statement comes on the heals of a bout of public bickering between the coach and Califf.
Califf was named in the Union's gameday 18 last week against the Colorado Rapids, but was placed on the bench despite holding the team's captain's armband and not being listed on Philadelphia's injury report. Following the game, Califf and Nowak had differing opinions on why the 32-year-old was not part of the starting 11.
"Danny's still - you guys don't know - he has a shot in his knee," Nowak told reporters (transcribed by Chris Vito for Union Tally). "Doctors in the offseason took a pretty good chunk of meniscus. We're monitoring the situation to make sure he's ready to play, but he's going to be available for us and getting the performance that we all expect."
The head coach's comments were of interest to Califf, who was confused by the information that Nowak dissed out to reporters, saying that he had no clue about his reported injury problem.
"Honestly, that's the first time I've heard about my knee being a problem," Califf said to reporters after the Portland game. "I don't really understand where that's coming from. I have no idea what's going on in Peter's head because he hasn't said a word to me... I would've thought that he at least would have a conversation with me. But he didn't and maybe that's his style and that's the situation right now."
The two publicly made up during Wednesday's press conference, saying that they had talked and were hoping to improve their communication in the future.
This incident wasn't the first time that Califf made waves by speaking out against Nowak in public. Califf talked to Philly.com about how he thought that Nowak's tactics played into the Houston Dynamo's hands strategically, publicly bemoaning the choice of an experimental 3-5-2 and long ball play in the playoff exit.