Union drop two from technical staff

Posted: July 04, 2012

Union interim manager John Hackworth confirmed on Monday that scouting director Diego Gutiérrez and youth technical director Alecko Eskandarian are no longer with the Major League Soccer club, according to MLSsoccer.com.

Hackworth, speaking on a conference call from Southern California, where the Union are gearing up for a Wednesday game with the Los Angeles Galaxy, said it was his decision to let both members of the technical staff go. Though he is an interim, he has been given the authorization to hire and fire.

Hackworth said the terminations were "separate situations" and refused to go into details of why Gutiérrez and Eskandarian were let go.

"I don't think it's fair to either one of the individuals to put them in the same context," he said. "But the bottom line is neither one of them are working for the Philadelphia Union anymore."

Gutiérrez, who most recently played a role in the acquisition of center back Bakary Soumaré, played with former manager Peter Nowak in Chicago. Eskandarian, who had been a constant sideline presence but was nowhere to be seen during the four games with Hackworth in charge, played under Nowak with D.C. United.

The changes leave Rob Vartughian and Brendan Burke as the only remaining assistant coaches.

Hackworth said he will rely on the Union's Under-18 Academy head coach, Jim Curtin, to keep the youth system going for now.

"We know the workload will have to be assumed by the current staff," Hackworth said. "That is a challenge for all of us, but I don't think it's an impossible job for us to do. . . . We certainly need to hire for those positions as we move forward, but at the moment the most important job is to build and get the first team moving in the right direction and continue what we've been doing over the past couple of weeks."

Hackworth acknowledged that with Gutiérrez gone, the Union have lost a link to South America and Central America that helped bring in players such as Lionard Pajoy, Gabriel Gómez, and Carlos Valdés.

But the interim manager said that while he's not fluent in Spanish, he also has some connections in the region.

- Inquirer staff

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