John Hackworth Thinks the Union Deserve More Respect; What Do You Think?

John Hackworth Thinks the Union Deserve More Respect; What Do You Think?

CHESTER, Pa. – For the second time in the past month or so, Philadelphia Union manager John Hackworth did his best Rodney Dangerfield impression and talked about not getting enough respect.

He said it the first time before hosting the Los Angeles Galaxy on May 15, before the Union dropped a 4-1 decision to Landon Donovan and company.

Now, as the Union prepare to face the New York Red Bulls in a nationally televised showdown Sunday at PPL Park, he’s saying it again.

His reasoning is simple and certainly carries with it some merit. The Union are currently in third place in the Eastern Conference with a respectable 6-5-4 record. Should they beat the second-place Red Bulls on Sunday, they’ll have a better record than their star-studded rivals to the north. And yet Hackworth has seemed to draw a lot of criticism on social media and the Union don’t seem to be considered much of a playoff contender, as evidenced by them ranking 14th out of 19 teams in the most recent MLSsoccer.com power rankings.

So why is his team not getting as much credit as he thinks they should?

“That’s an excellent question, ” Hackworth said. “And I don’t know. I think part of it is Philly. This town has a high expectation for their teams. … I think that’s part of this culture, part of this city and part of the desire to be a champion. And we certainly have those aspirations for sure. But we know there’s a process to get there. I guess that’s what my major point would be: you need patience and you need time to get to do those things and to really build things that are long-lasting and solid.”

Indeed, if you look at where the Union were last year at this time, there’s really no comparison. Their record was a dreadful 2-8-2, they had just fired embattled manager Peter Nowak (who had impressively and dramatically disassembled a team that had made the playoffs a year ago) and their entire offense was pretty much focused around a striker who couldn’t score (Lionard Pajoy).

Since then, Hackworth has unglued Amobi Okugo and Jack McInerney (the league’s leading goal scorer) from the bench, reacquired Sebastien Le Toux (the league’s leading assist man), and brought in hard-nosed veterans like Jeff Parke and Conor Casey.

Even the staunchest Hackworth critics (who don’t like many of the coach’s lineup decisions) would probably prefer a starting XI that features Okugo, McInerney, Le Toux, Parke and Casey over the one that featured Pajoy, Gabriel Gomez, Freddy Adu and the rest of Nowak’s guys who never panned out in Philly.

Of course, the critics have their points, too. Hackworth has made some puzzling lineup decisions and has yet to find a midfield with much creativity; the defense has been leaking goals recently; and the Union have only beaten teams beneath them in the standings.

So what do you think? Should the Union be given more credit for their above-.500 record considering where they were a year ago? Or do they need to start beating some of the league’s best teams (starting Sunday) to earn more respect?

Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com, CSNPhilly.com and The 700 Level. Email him at djzeitlin@gmail.com.

West Chester baseball wins Atlantic Regional, moves on to national championship tourney

ed-mailliard-west-chester-baseball.jpg
Photo credit: Ed Mailliard

West Chester baseball wins Atlantic Regional, moves on to national championship tourney

West Chester University baseball is moving on to the 2017 NCAA National Championships.

The Golden Rams won the Division II Atlantic Regional Final on Monday with a 12-7 decision over Winston-Salem State at Russell Diethrick Park.

Sophomore first baseman Jared Melone reached base six times, going 5 for 5 with a walk and four RBIs, while shortstop Nick Ward scored four runs and collected three hits to help West Chester capture its fourth regional title in program history.

Senior right-hander Josh McClain picked up the win in relief with three innings of one-run ball, as the Golden Rams scored five in the eighth inning to win their first regional crown since 2012, the year they won the national championship. 

West Chester is now 40-11 overall and will open national championship tournament play on Saturday at 3 p.m. against North Georgia in Grand Prairie, Texas.

Instant Replay: Rockies 8, Phillies 1

Instant Replay: Rockies 8, Phillies 1

BOX SCORE

The Phillies' offense was quiet again in an 8-1 loss to the Colorado Rockies on Monday night.

The Phillies had just three hits. They mustered just three in losing, 1-0, at Pittsburgh on Sunday.

The loss was the Phillies' 18th in the last 22 games. They have been outscored 126-89 over that span.

The Phils are 15-27.

Colorado's 29-17 record is the best in the National League.

Starting pitching report
Jerad Eickhoff gave up nine hits and four runs over six innings. Four of the hits that Eickhoff allowed came in the third inning when the Rockies scored three times. He did not walk a batter and struck out four.

Eickhoff is 0-5 with a 4.70 ERA in nine starts.

Colorado rookie Jeff Hoffman, called up from Triple A earlier in the day, was impressive in the eighth start of his big-league career. Make that very impressive. He scattered three hits and a run over seven walk-free innings and struck out seven.

Hoffman, a 24-year-old product of East Carolina University, was a first-round pick of the Toronto Blue Jays in 2014, going ninth overall, two picks behind Aaron Nola. He was dealt to the Rockies in the trade that sent shortstop Troy Tulowitzki to the Jays.

Bullpen report
Pat Neshek pitched a scoreless seventh inning and struck out two.

Scott Oberg, Mike Dunn and Jake McGee closed out the Phillies.

At the plate
The Phils were out-hit, 13-3.

Aaron Altherr had a pair of doubles against Hoffman. He scored the Phillies' lone run on a hit by Tommy Joseph in the fourth.

Charlie Blackmon flared a two-run double to left to score the Rockies' first two runs in the third. DJ LeMahieu followed with an RBI single. Carlos Gonzalez doubled, moved to second on a hit by Mark Reynolds and scored the Rockies' fourth run on a line-drive sacrifice fly by Gerardo Parra in sixth.

The Rockies blew the game open with four runs in the top of the ninth. Nolan Arenado highlighted things with a two-run homer off Luis Garcia.

In the field
First baseman Joseph made a costly error in the ninth.

Lineup stuff
Michael Saunders, who opened the season hitting fifth, was dropped to eighth in the batting order. "He's not hitting," manager Pete Mackanin said in explaining the move. Saunders entered the game on an 0-for-11 skid, hitting just .232. He went 0 for 3 to extend his hitless streak to 14 at-bats.

Up next
The series continues on Tuesday night. Zach Eflin (0-1, 4.25) opposes Colorado right-hander German Marquez (2-2, 4.34).