Union at a crossroads with manager John Hackworth

John Hackworth is used to directing soccer players on the field, not throwing baseballs off a pitcher's mound.
John Hackworth has now seen a victory for quite some time now, and it has put him and his job on the hot seat. Credit: Getty Images

Toward the end of the Union’s eventual 1-0 loss to D.C. United this past weekend, a faint chant had started among Union supporters. By the end of the match, the faint chant became a noticeable roar in PPL Park and one that Union management surely took notice of.

The fans chanted “fire Hackworth” in response to the Union’s now ninth straight match without a win, a franchise-record. Although Union manager John Hackworth is as well-respected as they come in the locker room and in the media, there’s a certain point in any franchise where you have to sit down and evaluate what’s in the best interest of the team.

That time is now for the Union.

The Union (1-5-5) haven’t won a match since March 15. The tactical moves that Hackworth has made this season like drafting goaltender Andre Blake and trading forward Jack McInerney to the Montreal Impact for forward Andrew Wenger have made little to no impact on the team’s success this season.

The Union as a team have scored just twice in their past five matches, which were netted as an own goal and a penalty kick. They haven’t scored on the offensive attack in over a month, the last coming on April 12.

Still, players are backing Hackworth and will continue to stand behind their coach no matter what happens.

“I’m sure the coaches would love to be able to sub themselves on the pitch, but they can’t,” said midfielder Maurice Edu, regarding the chants towards Hackworth. “All they can do is prepare us well during the week, get us motivated before the game, get us motivated at halftime. It’s up to us to go out there and perform. It’s unfair.”

The Union face defending champion Sporting KC (5-2-2) Wednesday night in Kansas City. In their last meeting back in October, KC helped eliminate the Union from playoff contention with a 2-1 victory at PPL Park.

The game will air at 8:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet.

More trouble on the horizon:

On Monday, Union midfielder Maurice Edu was named to the USMNT 30-man roster in preparation for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

He’ll likely miss the next two weeks of action for the Union and, as a fringe selection to the final 23-man team, could miss up to a month more when action gets underway on June 12.

Edu has been the most successful of Hackworth’s acquisitions this season. He’s tied for the team lead in goals with two and has been a defensive force in the midfield.


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