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Chicago Fire vs. Philadelphia Union - MLS #23 - Three Questions

Dominic Oduro brought home 3 points in March.  Can he burn the Union again Sunday night?  Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-US PRESSWIRE
Dominic Oduro brought home 3 points in March. Can he burn the Union again Sunday night? Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-US PRESSWIRE

It's that time again, and I am here to serve up a hearty helping of 3 questions exchange. Not to mention a couple of bonus questions to boot. I visited again with Scott Kessler over at Brotherly Game ahead of Sunday's game. I'll keep this short, you all know the drill. First question is below, the rest is after the break. Enjoy...

Hot Time In Old Town Asks Brotherly Game

1. How has the attitude in the locker room changed with Peter gone? (via Rudy Gomez)

It's gotten a lot lighter from the way that the players and media have discussed the change. After the Union chose to move on from Peter Nowak and install John Hackworth as interim head coach, some players spoke out about the differences in coaching styles.

The most outspoken player was Jack McInerney, who almost immediately benefitted from the beginning of Hackworth's reign through increased playing time. McInerney told Chris Vito, of the Delaware County Times, shortly after Nowak's dismissal, that he was pondering asking for a trade because of the way the former head coach had handled his playing time.

On the field results, sans Saturday's 2-0 loss to the Montreal Impact, have gone well for Hackworth's Union and the offense had appeared to have a rebirth of sorts under his guidence.

All in all, Hackworth's biggest change to the Union has been his player friendly decision making, which has affected the locker room for the better.

2. How has the loss of LeToux effected the locker room? (via Rudy Gomez)

I talked to a player who joined the Union last year and did not return for this season about this issue. He told me that Sebastien Le Toux was one of the main leaders on the team during the former player's time with Philadelphia.

However, at this point in time, Le Toux's loss no longer matters. The team has moved on and other people have stepped into his, Faryd Mondragon and Danny Califf's shoes in terms of leadership on the Union.

3. Talk about the club's financial issues with the city of Chester and being able to turn a profit in general. Is there a way for the Union to avoid these issues going forward? (via James Coston)

The club and the city have disagreed slightly over the numbers involved, but Chester has claimed that the Union owe as much as two years worth of payments in lieu of taxes for the team's first three years at PPL Park. There was a point in time, according to the Delco Times, that the Union were behind $750,000 between the franchise's first year and this year.

For some reason Philadelphia paid off the payment for 2011 without completing the payment for 2010. CEO and Managing Partner Nick Sakiewicz has stated that the team is negotiating with the city to complete the payments due.

As for other issues, the current administration has begun the process of instituting a taxation plan that is directed toward businesses like the Union and Harrah's Philadelphia, both of which sell tickets and parking spots.

Sakiewicz and the team claim that the tax rates - 10 percent on ticket sales and 20 percent on parking income - would take around $2 million a year from the team, or what he has said would equate to one tenth of the team's yearly revenue ($20 million).

Moving forward the team has to figure out a way to better market itself or better handle its finances. They've, according to sources I've talked with, been around the top of the league in terms of merchanise sales and game day revenue for two seasons now.

On top of that, the Union have barely paid any over cap wages to players in three seasons, with possibly only Freddy Adu's salary coming out of allocation money or the owners' pockets.

If the team can't make a profit based on near or full sellouts regularly, bringing in plenty of cash through non-ticket or parking revenue and other revenue streams, then the owernship needs to take a good look at the entire situation and how it's put itself into that situation.

4. Do you think interim head coach John Hackworth is deserving of the job full-time? (via James Coston)

I think he's done an satistfactory job, but it's still slightly too early to make that decision. Hackworth's affect on the locker room and individual player performance has been noteworthy, but I'd like a larger sample size on which the team can make such a big decision.

5. Talk to me about former Fire player Bakary Soumare. It seems he is set to make his debut against his old team this weekend. What will he bring to the team that Philly is currently lacking? How excited is the Union fan base for Bakary's arrival? (via Ryan Sealock)

Height. Pure, unadaulterated height. Soumare, once he enters the playing field, is the tallest player the Union have ever had and will immediately bring some much needed aerial threat to both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.

Additionally, Soumare's introduction will allow the Union to continue to start Amobi Okugo by shifting him to a more natural central midfield position, once Carlos Valdes returns from international duty with Colombia.

Fans are very excited about the prospect of Soumare playing, but are wary of what his form may be like after spending a few months rehabbing his knee after surgery. They've waited patiently for his debut and are hoping that he will pan out, especially since it appears that Soumare's addition will be the only one that the Union will make during either MLS summer transfer window.