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

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Curtin on the verge of Union coaching history

Union manager Jim Curtin, seen coaching in Seattle
last week, would move into the club lead for wins
in all competitions with his next victory. (AP)
Philadelphia Union manager Jim Curtin has often been blunt this season about his only full campaign in charge. ‘We weren’t good last year,’ has been Curtin’s message about 2015, paraphrased though its many uttered variations.

While no one’s lining up to argue that, the manager in his third season is approaching a piece of significant history: With his next win, Curtin will become the Union’s franchise leader in coaching victories. It’s possible that could come at home, with the Union embarking on a season-long, three-game homestand starting with Saturday’s game with New York City FC.

Curtin has managed 67 competitive matches for the Union (MLS and U.S. Open Cup). He carries a record of 25-26-17 in those games, even on wins with his predecessor, John Hackworth.

Hackworth went 25-32-20 in 77 matches. Peter Nowak, who oversaw a franchise-best 81 games, posted a 23-33-25 record and is already in Curtin's rearview mirror. (Updated: I neglected to include Nowak's two playoff games, both losses to Houston, in his record. Anyone else forget those?)

A major driver is Curtin’s record in the U.S. Open Cup. Over the last two seasons, the Union are 5-1-4 in the competition. (Technically, winning by penalty kicks is regarded as a draw, but it we want to get qualitative, Curtin’s team has advanced in eight of 10 matches.)

Curtin’s next MLS win will be his 21st, tying him with Nowak for second-most all-time and putting him two behind Hackworth.

Nowak, signed before the club’s inception, was in charge for two and a half seasons from the inaugural game in 2010 to June 13, 2012. Hackworth took over then and coached for three days shy of two years, when Curtin took over on an interim basis June 10, 2014 and was made full-time in October of that year.

The obvious difference between the coaches becomes obvious on points per game (in MLS play):

Coach GP W L D Pts PPG
Peter Nowak 75 21 30 23 87 1.16
John Hackworth 73 23 30 20 89 1.22
Jim Curtin 57 20 25 13 73 1.28

Curtin is well ahead of either of his forebears in that all-important ppg category. Barring a drop to last season’s 1.0 ppg levels or unforeseen circumstances, Curtin should top his predecessors this summer. And he has the potential to do it in many fewer games.

To add in the Open Cup component for total wins, Peter Nowak went 2-1-1 in the competition (including the qualification bracket in 2010 and 2011), both of his wins coming in the weeks before his dismissal in 2012. Hackworth won one game in 2012 and one in 2013 for a 2-2-0 record.

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