Tag Archive | "Piotr Nowak"

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New Signings Introduced: “I Don’t Think We’re Done”

Posted on 20 January 2011 by stoma

Photo from PhiladelphiaUnion.com

As Philadelphia Union CEO & Operating Partner Nick Sakiewicz sat with Manager Peter Nowak to formally announce the signings of two Colombian internationals, goalkeeper Faryd Mondragón and central defender Carlos Valdés, he also noted that, although “it seems like we’ve been making announcements every day for the last seven or eight days, I don’t think we’re done.”  Nowak added that the club is still looking to improve the roster, noting that the roster would likely be finalized within “a couple of weeks.”

However, today was about Mondragón and Valdés.  The two new additions, who will go a long ways towards bolstering a shaky defense, the team hopes, were introduced to approximately 100 Sons of Ben and other team fans as well as the assembled media today at noon in Fado Irish Pub in Center City Philadelphia.  After an inaugural season in which the team conceded 49 goals, which tied for 2nd highest in the league, solidifying the back line and installing a reliable keeper were high priorities.  Nowak acknowledged this, saying that “we don’t hide from our problems” and indicating that shoring up the defense was an obvious issue for the club to address during the offseason.

Mondragón, the starting keeper for Colombia when they visited PPL Park to play an international friendly against the U.S. Men’s National Team, remembered the visit to Philadelphia and Chester fondly, stating that “no one has to tell me about the atmosphere at PPL Park or the supporters, the Sons of Ben, because I lived it.”  He also noted that it would be a welcome change to have the crowd in his favor on a consistent basis and looked forward to having visiting opponents “really know they are on the road.”  In addition to a long and storied career with the Colombian national team, which included being the backup for the 1994 World Cup held in the U.S. and starting all 3 games for his nation in the 1998 World Cup, Faryd enjoyed success for the gem of the Turkish league, Galatasaray, as well as his most recent prior club, FC Koln in the German Bundesliga.

Valdés, also a native of Cali, Colombia, comes directly from Independiente Santa Fe of the Colombian league, where he has become known as a rising star at the central defensive position.  Along with Danny Califf, Michael Orozco Fiscal and fellow Colombian Juan Diego Gonzalez, Valdés will form a strong corps of central defenders that will allow Nowak and the rest of the coaching staff flexibility at the back.  In addition, Nowak hopes that the presence of several viable options will breed competition that will push each to an even higher level.  “We [the coaches] have a very easy job,” said Nowak, “we just have to pick who is playing the best.”

These signings indicate quick and early success for the newest addition to the Union’s technical staff, Diego Gutiérrez.  Gutiérrez was hired late last year as the Head of Scouting and Player Development.   He began his playing career within the Independiente Santa Fe ranks, much like Valdés, but spent his days as a professional in the MLS, playing for the Chicago Fire (as Nowak’s teammate) and the Kansas City Wizards.  Gutiérrez’ Colombian connections have paid early returns and supporters of the Union hope to see continued success in luring players from all around the world to come to Philadelphia.  If, as Sakiewicz intimated, there are more player signings to come in the following weeks, and if they are of the caliber of Mondragón and Valdés, the work of Gutiérrez and the entire technical staff this offseason will have been a smashing success.

For now, the long grind of the preseason has begun, with almost two months remaining before the Union’s first match of the season, March 19 in Houston.  Nowak invites all fans to come out to the YSC Sports facility in Wayne, Pennsylvania to watch the team go through its preseason workouts, which will be open to the public.

UPDATE: The team has confirmed that practices from Monday, January 24-Friday, January 28 from 11 am-1 pm each day will be open to the public.

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Quotes from RBNY Invasion: Nowak, Salinas, Seitz, Backe

Posted on 25 April 2010 by Breton Bonnette

Hans Backe, New York manager

Q: [On topic of approach for U.S. Open match against Philadelphia on Tuesday]

A: I have to change my mind.  I told a couple of you journalists before that I’ve always had priority for the [Open] Cup wherever I’ve been: I’ve been in 6 Cup finals, losing 5.  But, with this schedule now and with the Juventus game coming up [on May 23], if you win in the Cup, you end up playing 9 games from now until June 5 and I don’t think this squad is available to cope with that.  So, we will play mostly the players who haven’t been involved in the first 5 games.

Q: [Asking on reactions the fact that, despite the Red Bulls’ early success this season, a close-in-proximity Philadelphia Union team in town, and ideal weather, that only 15,619 were in attendance]

A: Well, I was told earlier in the week that Philadelphia was sending 5,000 fans, but there were only a couple of hundred [actual number between 750-1000].  But, we’ve been playing entertaining games.  Last week [against FC Dallas] was a game that, even though it ended 2-1 , could have been 4-4 or something like that, it was an entertaining game.  It’s a stadium that should sell itself, that’s something I’ve said before.  Knowing this area, there are a lot of South Americans, Europeans, people who love soccer.  It should be, if not sold out, around 18-20 thousand, but I have no answer for why [it has been down].

Shea Salinas

Q: [On being called on to defend, not a usual position for him]

A: It was definitely different, but I had fun back there.  I felt like I did some things that you could tell I was new to the position, but it was fun back there.

Q: When did you find out you were in the starting lineup?

A: At the team pre-game meal, so not that long before the game.  But, I was super excited to get back in the lineup and start playing.

Q: And when you found out you were playing on defense [at Left Back], what was your reaction to that?

A: I was excited, I was just excited to be on the field.  The coaching staff gave me a chance out there and I was excited to be on the field, I don’t care where I was.

Q: Having played in a few places, like San Jose obviously, that had stadium problems, and I’m sure you played at Giants Stadium, what was it like to come into a place like this?

A: The stadium was great.  I thought our fans were incredible: the Sons of Ben were out there and they were loud the whole time.  The stadium was awesome and I really appreciated our fans.

Q: What did Piotr [Nowak] say to you after the game?

A: He just came over, shook my hand and said “Well done.”  He told all of us to keep our heads up; we’ve got to come back here Tuesday and play them again, so it’s a quick turnaround.

Q: Has the team discussed anything in terms of the roster for the Open match on Tuesday?

A: To be honest, I have no idea.  The coaching staff is in control, and they usually make good decisions.

Chris Seitz

Q: What it’s going to take?  It’s been, three things now? Four things now [unlucky breaks that have changed the game]?  Coach Nowak actually said that the team should get together and pray so that something else doesn’t happen.

A: Well, I think we’re putting good results together, we talked about it and I think in some ways we’ve almost got to get lucky on our end, you know?  I think we created a great goal in response to their first one and got unlucky on the second.  Obviously Mike [Orozco] isn’t going for it with his hand, he’s going for it with his head, but that stuff happens.  We didn’t react very well to that goal, but it’s going to go both ways.  We’ve just got to keep training hard.  We come back here on Tuesday for another game, it’s another challenge for us, and I think we’ll be ready for it.

Q: What did you think of Shea [Salinas] playing at the back?

A: He was good.  I think that was one of the first time he’s played there on the left, he’s played on the right, but it was good for him.  We wanted to match speed with speed out there [against Red Bulls attacking midfielder Dane Richards], and I think it worked well for us.  We were able to contain [Richards} pretty well.  [Shea] is a good player, and I think he can adapt to any position on the field, and that’s what good players do.

Q: Has Coach Nowak told you how you’ll be approaching Tuesday’s game?

A: We have no idea.  I think we’re going to get back on the bus, get home tonight, get a nice review on Monday then come back up on Tuesday ready to go.

Q: Lastly, what did you think of the fan support?

A: Oh, it was great.  Any time you see the Sons of Ben and Union fans in general, it’s special.  They made the trek up here, and we really appreciate it.  We hope that they continue to support us and we’re going to keep playing for them because they deserve the best.

Piotr Nowak

Q: This is your 2nd consecutive loss.  What do you have to do to get a win or a tie?

A: Both losses were close losses.  We understand, and I’ve told the team that we need to collect points.  But we’ve made some mistakes and paid for them.  That’s been the case in each game we’ve played so far, whether it be red cards or penalties.  They call it beginner’s luck, but that’s just not the case for our team right now.  The big thing is to finish our chances.  If you don’t convert your chances, you struggle.

Q: [On Orozco’s handball and whether or not it was unintentional and incidental to the degree that it should not have been penalized]

A: Well, we can’t complain, but I need to look at it.  It’s difficult to say right now [whether or not it should have been penalized].  I would say right now that it was a mistake.  Whether it was a shadow, or the light, or the ball was moving, it’s a goal we conceded, and those are the types of goals that we need to prevent.

Q: Why did you take [Roger] Torres out [at halftime]?

A: I thought he was struggling with the pressure and trying to find his rhythm from left to right and trying to find the passing channels.

Q: So, he wasn’t injured?

A: No, he was not injured.

Q: When do you think we’ll see [Torres] play a full 90 minutes?

A: I think [all the players] are capable of playing a full 90 minutes.  I think the mental and physical preparation for this game was pretty good, so I don’t think playing a full game should be a problem.

Q: [Asking what the starting 11 will look like for the U.S. Open with the 1st game coming up so quickly]

A: Do they give a trophy for [the winner of the Open Cup]?  Then we’ll play our best.

Q: What do you tell your team after a loss like this?

A: The most important thing is that we don’t get down.  I believe, and we believe as a group, that our play has been pretty solid.  [I told them to] forget about today.  Finish your chances, make sure you play for 90 minutes  and win the game.  The message for today is pretty simple: we can’t keep making these mistakes.  Probably the best thing to do right now is to go to church.

Q: Shea [Salinas] on defense: what were the thoughts behind that, do you know if he’s ever played there before and how do you think he responded?

A: I thought he did a great job.  With [Red Bulls attacking midfielder Dane] Richards, we knew that speed was going to be a factor in this game and that’s something we tried to avoid.  For his first game as a wide defender/midfielder


  • Chris Albright (Philly native) likely to play for New York in Tuesday’s game
  • Piotr Nowak refers to Jack McInerney as “MC”
  • According to Jonathan Tannenwald after a conversation with SoB Brad Youtz, RBNY fans cracked several windows on the Philadelphia Union fan bus before pulling out of Red Bull Arena. You can get that scoop here. Let’s hope this is dealt with swiftly…

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