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

Thursday, May 30, 2013

John Hackworth press conference, May 30

Union boss John Hackworth had plenty to say today at his weekly press conference. Here are some odds and ends...

On evaluating talent in Ocean City:
There were a couple of guys. I think anytime you look at a PDL team like that, you’re looking at amateur players that are looking to be pros, and there’s certainly a lot of talent out there. There were, I would say, three guys that we liked and that we’re going to continue to track and maybe even bring in on trial. I think that’s one of the great things about the Open Cup is that you get these amateur clubs to play professional teams and whether it’s meant to or not, it becomes almost a scouting opportunity for the professional teams and a chance for these young players to really impress and get a chance.

On playing a PDL team:
It’s different, and we obviously with our staff know the PDL very well and we value that whole process. We think it’s invaluable for scouting and preparation for the draft and things like that. But in this case, there is really an opportunity to get a hands-on look at a guy.

On what he's looking for from Toronto Saturday:
My hope is that the game is a little different, but my expectation is that it’s not going to be really any different. I think they have some new players. They added some very quality players on the field, so it’s a different team a little bit for Toronto. I think that makes this a little interesting. I still think you’re going to have two clubs who are really fighting for points, and they’re going to try to go out and get a result and hopefully it’s a better soccer game than it was here, but that’s all we can ask for.

On the midfield chemistry between Michael Farfan and Kleberson:
With Kleberson and Michael, we’re happy with both of them. We think they’re continuing to develop a relationship, and I think that being able to play Michael on either side of Kleberson has been advantageous for us to try to figure out a better matchup for us. So we’ll look at that for sure. We were able to rest both in the U.S. Open Cup for the most part – Michael came on at the very end – but to those guys that have fresh legs and will be available, we always hope that you can continue to get better and those guys that are really important can continue to step up.

On the defense's recent play:
I would be lying to you if I told you that I was really happy with the last couple performances of … I wouldn’t call it our backline though. I’ve said this to our guys in the locker room: We have to be a team in every sense of the word. We have to make sure we do things on both sides of the ball that complement each other, so for me it’s not just the backline that shares that burden. In Montreal, it’s a little bit of a hard one to take when you give up five goals because we certainly were going for it from about 60 minutes on, so that leaves us very vulnerable, very stretched, and we put ourselves in a great position to get back in that game at 3-2 and then gave up a restart. That’s not necessarily our backline’s fault, that’s on our team on a restart like that. And obviously the fifth one – to me, if you lost 3-2 or 5-3, it doesn’t matter at that point. It matters on the stat sheet so people can pick you apart for that, but the bottom line for us is that we’ve got to be a better team defensively in all areas. Our backline certainly takes a lot of pride in that and we have to improve, but it’s our midfield too, our forward, we have to do it collectively.

On preparing for a different Toronto team:
Of course we’re looking at the game film. They’re different as I said earlier because they’ve added a lot of different pieces, and they can literally field a lineup that is 50 percent of guys that weren’t even here when we played earlier at PPL. I think we have to be ready for both, and certainly we’re going to try to play a little different style against them this time. And we’re studying how they played then and also how they’ve played recently. It’ll be an interesting game because it’s a little bit difficult to predict how they’ll play.

On the lack of Union players going away for international duty:
It’s good. Toronto lost a lot of guys midweek to Canada, and a lot of those guys played. I think (Darren) O’Dea went for the Ireland team. They have guys that are coming back, and it’ll be interesting. We played the Open Cup game. For us it’s just the matter of having the full selection from our roster, and that’s good. ... Not for me. I like those choices, because I think that it makes our job tougher, but it means that we have better quality.

On A.S. Roma being named the opponent for the 2013 MLS All-Star Game:
I think it’s really cool. I’m glad that Roma’s going to be the opponent particularly because I have a long relationship with Michael Bradley and to see him come play with Roma here in the states, I think it’ll be fantastic for him and a great opportunity for our All-stars.

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