Yes, I stayed up to watch the Philadelphia Union play Chivas USA in what was considered to be a soccer match by some and considered by others a replacement for counting sheep to help them fall asleep. Let's be clear the game late Saturday night was not the most thrilling of 90 minutes I've ever seen. By comparison, Portland's and Vancouver's game the following day made the Union-Chivas match look like my rec soccer league.
But 3 points is supposed to be 3 points, even if it is against a team worse than you by an unfathomable amount. So John Hackworth's men must be given credit as well as the man he put in charge of acting as the missing piece in the midfield: Fred.
Excuse me - FREEEEEEEEEEEDDDDDDDDD!
He's back and just about the same as he always was, however his inclusion raises a few flags coming off of an above average performance. He was the major change in the lineup, and whether we like it or not major changes get the credit or blame for any results that follow. So with a 3-0 win over the MLS punching bags, did Fred just save Hackworth's job?
Let's see what my colleagues said.
Barry Evans - No. I don't think he has done enough. Against Chivas, while he played well it is almost meaningless. He also gave the ball away quite a bit (rustiness), and took minutes away from Prefer who could have used the extra experience.
Eugene Rupinski - No. Fred was garbage. A step slower and the same poor decision making from 2010. A weak PK call saved Hackworth's job.
JC Escobar - I don't necessarily think that Fred saved Hackworth's job, but if they get a result from Vancouver, I can see the FO keeping him on for the rest of the season.
Frank Cobbina - No, and while I won't go as far to say Fred was garbage, he didn't exactly light it up in my eyes either. I find it hard to believe that a 34 year old Fred who was previously languishing in the bottom of the A-League is the answer to our scoring troubles. I think it had more to do with playing an inferior side in Chivas USA. The World Cup break is coming up; that would be a perfect time for the Union to find a head coach successor. It's another win-or-go-home situation for Hack in my eyes against Vancouver.
Justin F. - Only once Fred scores a game-winning goal in stoppage time next weekend will he have saved Hack's job. It seems like it is a stretch to call any singular game "win or the coach gets sacked", but I find it hard to believe Hackworth would be sacked during the WC break on the heels of two wins. Perhaps sometime after that, then if/when things go sour again? If firing Hackworth is at all on the table for Sakiewicz, it won't suddenly go away for the rest of the season. And if it's not actually an issue, then well I hope you like Fred.
Jared Young - Whatever job-saving games are occurring, they are only temporary. The tickets to nowhere for this team are already issued. There are enough weaknesses that can't be addressed by improved play and the coach can and will take the fall. The waiting game is rough though. It'd be a lot more fun to put our hope into a new future, instead of hoping the Union lose.
Dan "I love Fred" Kenworthy - How is this the question of the week? Fred got 3 shots off, 1 on goal, and fouled 5 times. The game itself was questionable at best, and the focus is on Fred? Why do you think it's a possible hot topic question that he could save Hack's job? Because he's from 2010 roster, playing someone that costs more than average salary, or just pleading to the fans?
I honestly don't get how this is the focus.
The major change is he was someone who kind of knew what he was doing...but he did it in the same way as back in 2010. As opposed to the mess of a strategy that is the Union because "we are doing everything right, why isn't this working" is wearing thin on motivation. I feel, especially in the Chivas match, you could tell they are mentally drained because of the pressure, and confusion, of why things aren't working.
My point of including Fred as the focus was because I believe Fred exceeded expectations in his first start in MLS since 2011. I believe Fred played well - he wasn't garbage as was suggested - and there's many people who thought the 34 year-old would have failed miserably in his first start back with Philadelphia.
Fred was the major, and most surprising, change in the lineup for the Union this week. I don't think I'll have many arguing that against me. What a coincidence it is that the Union demolish Chivas in his first appearance. So did his inclusion save Hackworth's job?
Don't get me wrong, I love Fred. I have his jersey signed and hanging up in my house. I wanted to start a supporters group back in 2010 in Section 114 called "Fred's Friends". Needless to say, I didn't. A trip down memory lane for the Union at the Stubhub Center resulted in a 3-0 victory, but very little of that had to do with Fred's performance.
Chivas looked as abysmal and lethargic, as the Union did a week prior against the Galaxy. Maybe a week of fun and sun in Southern California was the ticket that got them the three points. Or perhaps it was the ref who gave a preposterous penalty and allowed a clear interference of Dan Kennedy by an offside Andrew Wenger. The Union may have had more opportunities at goal and clearly were the dominant side, but that's like saying Brandon Davies beat me in one on one basketball.
So is Hack's job saved in general? I don't think so. Maybe the glorious Front Office in all their might can view this win as a triumphant return of positive results and that the tide turning for the Union, but to do so would imply they are delusional. We beat Chivas. So? Every team beats Chivas. This isn't necessarily a good thing, but should be more of an expected thing. The bottom line to me is that John Hackworth will be down to the wire on Saturday against Vancouver. If the Union get a result, Johnny keeps his paycheck. If the Union lose, I can't see how he is still the coach on the other side of the World Cup break.
It's do or die on Saturday for John Hackworth's job.
Please let us know what you think in the comments and the poll below!