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A Philadelphia Union blog hosted by Christopher A. Vito and Matthew De George

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


John Hackworth spent the better part of his Monday conference call discussing the dismissals of Diego Gutierrez and Alecko Eskandarian, respectively the Union's scouting and youth directors.

But Hackworth, the Union's interim manager, reserved only a few moments for laying out exactly how the club will manage without a scouting director … while the international transfer window remains open until July 27.

Now, Hackworth contends that the Union have their fingerprints on a few different players. He said he doesn't expect the Union, teetering in next-to-last-place in the Eastern Conference table, to take a step back in their ability to stay competitive in the transfer front without Gutierrez.

“I've traveled to all those countries and have strong relationships with those people there,” Hackworth said. “I think we'll be OK in that department.”

But was the dismissal of Gutierrez the most-prudent decision, considering the timing of the move? Consider that the Union let go of Gutierrez last week – according to Gutierrez, though the move became official Monday – and only a day or two after landing one of what they hope is a few key signings this summer.

The Union are optimistic that they'll sign someone else in addition to centerback Bakary Soumare, who they inked June 26 on the eve of the transfer window opening. Soumare, a friend of Gutierrez's who played with Gutierrez with the Chicago Fire from 2008 to '09, said his connection to his former teammate was a selling point in joining the Union.

“I would argue that (signing Soumare) was the biggest signing in the league in the now-open transfer window,” said Hackworth of signing Soumare, a process within which Gutierrez played a significant role.

Without Gutierrez, Hackworth said he expects to be taxed time-wise in the next month.

“On the international front, I'm working with my contacts over the last 10 years. It takes up a great deal of the day,” Hackworth said.

So maybe the dismissal of Gutierrez wasn't the most timely, but – after listening to Hackworth – you get the sense that it was a personnel move within the technical staff that had to be made. One report said the two had “philosophical differences” (sound familiar?) which they couldn't overcome. On the other hand, a new coach wants to rid his club of memories from the previous coach's tenure.

Whatever it was between Hackworth and Gutierrez, it must have been substantial to force the manager's hand to go without a scouting director during a critical stretch of the season. It'll be interesting to see how the Union progress in the near future without one.

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