Thursday, February 11, 2016

Video: Union season ends in disappointment

I joined the Inquirer's Marc Narducci to discuss where things went wrong, and where the team should go from here.

Video: Union season ends in disappointment


So it's over.

The Union won't be in the playoffs. As the Inquirer's Marc Narducci writes, it's hard to argue that they didn't deserve their fate.

After the final whistle, the opportunity came to ask John Hackworth questions in a postgame press conference for the final time this season. You can read some excerpts below. I haven't transcribed all of the questions and answers, but the answers that I did transcribe are posted in full.

Above, you can watch my postgame video analysis with Marc. We discussed where things went wrong, and where the team should go from here. Of all the videos we've done this year, I think this one was our best and most insightful.

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John, since July 20, the offense has dried up. You've had nine goals, I think, in the last 14 games. Did something change from earlier in the summer, when you were beating Columbus and New York [both by 3-0 margins in June] and flying high, and really looked to be one of the best teams in the conference?

I would say that the expectation changed. We were playing well, but we were probably exceeding people's expectations, and that probably gave everybody this idea that we were this high-flying team with the ability to beat some of those teams. And we were.

At the same time, it's not like we changed much. You go on runs as a team where it's tough to get goals, and we certainly had a stretch, but to our credit, we recovered from that and put in some performances at the end that we had to.

Unfortunately, it just wasn't good enough in the last five games.

John, what has to change?

Well, I think there's a lot of guys in that locker room who are going to be back here next year, and are really going to have profited from this year, and the experiences that this team has had.

You know, it's hard for me to sit here and tell you guys that I think the future looks bright, but in fact, I really believe that it does.

We have a couple of pieces that we need to change, and we have some tough decisions in the offseason, just like any other team.

But I would look at it very optimistically, because there's a lot of guys in that locker room that have great futures ahead of them, and I think our team is one that is building. We're getting better and better.

Unfortunately we're all going to be disappointed about right now, but you look at it and think there's a lot of pieces that can be very good next year.

John, you've given Roger Torres and Kléberson, in the last couple of weeks, some real chances to show what they've got, and to boost the attack. What's your judgment of their performances? They are probably some of the guys about whom people will wonder if they are going to be back next year.

José [Kléberson] earned an opportunity. He scored a great goal against Toronto. But we had a couple of injuries that opened up that opportunity for him. And he did well with it. We didn't do well enough as a team.

Roger really started coming on and pushing and had some great training sessions in the last three weeks, and deserved that chance. He gets an opportunity that maybe he would have gotten an opportunity before. I'm happy for Roger and proud of the way he played the last two games.

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The Goalkeeper is your home for the latest news about the Philadelphia Union, Major League Soccer, the National Women's Soccer League, the U.S. men's and women's national teams, and the rest of the world's most popular sport. It's also a place for fans to gather and celebrate the culture of soccer and its unique place on the sports landscape.

Jonathan Tannenwald Staff Writer
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