The only man to ever run the Philadelphia Union is now down from his post as Metro has learned that CEO and operating partner Nick Sakiewicz has moved on from his position.
The original report broke via CBS Philadelphia on Thursday evening citedseveral sources that Sakiewicz had been relieved of his duties. Metro can confirm that Sakiewicz is indeed on his way out from an organization he helped found and run since 2008, a tenure that saw them enter the league in 2010 as an expansion team and build PPL Park, one of the country’s preeminent soccer-specific stadiums.
The process to remove Sakiewicz has been three months in the making, a team source tells Yahoo!Sports.
At the core of the issue was a disagreement in philosophy between management and the team’s CEO. The Union has been incredibly thrifty in recent years, despite regularly selling out PPL Park. But spending from ownership has not kept up with the team’s off the field success, especially in an Eastern Conference that includes cash splashing sides over the past couple of years such as Toronto FC, New York City FC and the New York Red Bulls as well as recent expansion club Orlando City.
Union management, multiple league sources say, are content to try and play a version of ‘Moneyball’ but that philosophy has led to just one playoff appearance in their five seasons of play. There is a clear lag between their salary numbers and those of the top echelon teams in MLS.
Sakiewicz has an interesting background and one that might appeal in particular to an expansion team looking for an executive. He has built two stadiums, the Union’s home in Chester, PA and Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ, making him the only executive in the league to have two golden shovels above his fireplace. Hebuilt the Union from the bottom-up, something he also did with the now defunct Tampa Bay Mutiny during the league’sinaugural year in 1996.
He was named MLS Executive of the Year in 1996 with the Mutiny and then five seasons later with the MetroStars when he oversaw their worst-to-first season in 2000.