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Union part ways with Gutierrez and Eskandarian

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Less than a month after cutting ties with former head coach Peter Nowak, the Philadelphia Union have parted ways with director of scouting Diego Gutierrez and youth technical director Alecko Eskandarian.

Gutierrez and the Union agreed to part ways on Friday after what sources told SBI were philosophical differences between Gutierrez and interim head coach John Hackworth.

Gutierrez was instrumental in the building of the Union roster, with his connections in Latin American soccer helping the team land the likes of Faryd Mondragon, Carlos Valdes, Roger Torres and Gabriel Gomez (and his relationship with Bakary Soumare was directly related to the team's ability to sign the standout defender). He also stood by Nowak when the former head coach shipped off several of the team's most popular players, including Sebastien LeToux.

It remains unclear whether the Union will make any new hires to fill the void on the player personnel side. That seems like a glaring necessity for a team heading into the summer with around $500,000 in allocation money and a pressing need for a go-to forward.

The Union will now lean on Hackworth even more, and it will be interesting to see how a coach less than a month into his first professional head coaching job will handle the rigors of coaching the team as well as trying to improve the roster. Hackworth has been giving the backing of the club to have the remainder of the 2012 season to turn around a disappointing start, and the new head coach has not been shy about asserting his new power.

As for Gutierrez, he established a good reputation for forging strong ties into Latin America as well as having a good eye for American talent as well, a combination that should ensure that former MLS veteran doesn't stay unemployed very long.

What do you think of these developments? 

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Gutierrez I can partially understand as he was hand and hand with Nowak on the team concept but Eskandarian? The youth development has 3 home grown players already. With the summer transfer window just opened this signals that the Union a pretty much done with any additions, unless Hack wants a DP which was against everything the Union FO has said previously. Nowak I kind of expected after the info came out about him applying for the Hearts job but this seems odd in the timing. Hopefully for the Union they have someone in mind. Gutierrez did find some gems in Valdes, Mondragon and Gomez but also missed on some as well like Lopez, JDG.

  2. I was going to say that firing the scout with Philly’s record is much less nuts than the Smith firing at Colorado.

  3. I think removing a title winning head coach (Smith) the year after he wins it, due to head-banging with his TD, nuts. Granted Philly is an expansion team but it’s been no playoffs, 1 round and done, and then 11 points and 18th place this season. The Latin pipeline might sound interesting in concept, but the results aren’t bearing out. Mondragon, gone. Torres, interesting, not so productive., etc. Gomez would be the only gold star deal, we’ll see how Soumare works out.

    Houston seemed to be into Canadians, then Jamaicans, now it seems like Hondurans. You try and see what works. Maybe Hackworth felt that with a former agent turned GM he had a particular focus that wasn’t paying off enough. Someone else may snap up Gutierrez but I don’t think the field results scream can’t miss.

    Far as Esky goes, maybe he liked the Reading PDL results better….8-2-2 right now, close USOC loss to Charleston.

  4. He can come back to Chicago he’s already shown he can bring better south American players than Puppo, Chaves, Peurari, Robayo etc

  5. Obviously, Hackworth felt the key to success was to score more goals than the other team.

    While Eskandarian and Gutierrez felt the key to success was for the other team to score fewer goals than yours.

  6. When new management comes in they often want to bring in their own people. It happens not just in soccer but in all of corporate america.

  7. Until this news, I was beginning to develop a theory that the Nowark firing was perhaps a bit more premeditated and orchestrated transition of power than initially thought, (the good: sustained press coverage over the sideline drama of releasing beloved but overly expensive players while letting the outgoing coach take the arrows and bad press rather than the new coach, give him a clean slate so to speak and distracting from an awful record).

    Now I’m realizing that this is just the denial phase of my morning process and this is the year of sh!t luck and bad news for all Philly sports teams…

  8. Interesting….I know I have seen in the past on Alecko’s twitter page that he seemed to have a very good, buddy type, relationship with Hackworth, so this had to be a shock to him.

  9. I support giving each coach the opportunity to put a team (meaning assistants and support staff) around him that reflects his approach to the team.

    That said…unless other info comes to light, to me this is like Hans Backe dumping Richie Williams. Eskandarian is a guy who is an excellent choice for youth development. He knows US soccer well (and I don’t just mean professionally), played at U.VA but hails from NJ so Philly isn’t strange to him.

    Unless something comes to light about how Gutierrez and Esky were somehow sabotaging or bad-mouthing Hackworth, OR Hackworth has excellent replacements lined up, this seems like a poorly timed decision to me.


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