Nowak, Fred, Jacobson Set for D.C. Reunion
Philadelphia Union’s Home Opener at Lincoln Financial Field this coming Saturday will be special for a number of reasons.
But for Team Manager Peter Nowak and two players, midfielders Andrew Jacobson and Fred, Philadelphia Union’s match against D.C. United on April 10th will be extra special.
All three have ties to D.C. United and are likely extra motivated to walk away with three points.
In 2004, Nowak led D.C. United to an MLS Cup title in his rookie season as a head coach, just six years after guiding the expansion Chicago Fire to an MLS Cup championship as a player in ’98. Nowak is the only Team Manager in the last half century of U.S. sport to win a championship within two years of retiring as a player.
After working in the Fire front office for one year following his retirement, Nowak was placed in charge of D.C. United in ‘04. In his first year, Nowak led his team to a 3-2 MLS Cup victory against the Kansas City Wizards after the team had finished no better than fourth in the Eastern Conference during the previous four years.
In three years with D.C. United, Nowak guided the club to a combined 42-27-25 regular season record, including winning the Supporters’ Shield for best regular season record in ‘06 with a 15-7-10 record. Nowak’s career .609 winning percentage ranks among the top-five all-time for MLS coaches.
D.C. United just so happens to be the opponent for Philadelphia Union’s Home Opener. After the game, Nowak will have time to chat with his friends. But first, there’s a game to be won.
“From our standpoint, we will not change or back off a bit from our play,” Nowak said. “They all need to know that it's going to be very difficult to play against us and they will feel it as well, so get used to it. …We will not change and back off any from the way we play a bit. That’s what the public needs to know and the other team, as well.”
Jacobson signed with D.C. United in February of ’09 and went on to play in 17 league games with eight starts.
In all competitions, Jacobson appeared in 28 games (17 starts) and scored a goal. His lone goal of the season came in a 2-1 win over the Harrisburg City Islanders in the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals.
“I was only in D.C. for a year, but I’m excited for it,” Jacobson said. “It was exciting to play there last year and then to be part of an expansion team in Philadelphia this year. I have sent a lot of text messages back and forth to the guys I know there. I’m excited about the game next Saturday. I think our fans are going to enjoy it.”
Since being selected by Philadelphia Union in the expansion draft, Jacobson has reveled in his new surroundings.
“It’s been a great new chapter in my life,” Jacobson said. “I’m really excited to play. My attitude is to help my new club as much as possible. I don’t feel any animosity toward them or anything like that. I’m just excited to play.”
Fred has to be excited, too.
The versatile midfielder missed the season opener at Seattle because of a one-game suspension stemming from a red card he got in the 92nd minute of D.C. United’s final regular season game against Kansas City last season.
It’s clear that Philadelphia Union’s players, Technical Staff and supporters are eager to walk away with three points on Saturday. For Nowak, Jacobson and Fred, however, there might just be a little added incentive.