Philadelphia Union manager John Hackworth lays into referees after wild draw

CHESTER, Pa. – Philadelphia Union manager John Hackworth knows he could be getting into some trouble. His wallet? It could soon be lighter.

Hackworth doesn’t care.

In the postgame press conference following Philly’s 2-2 draw with the Seattle Sounders on Saturday at PPL Park, Hackworth immediately unleashed a verbal attack toward the officials, led by referee Jorge Gonzalez.

“Look, I’ll raise my hand and take the fine,” Hackworth said. “Because it has to be said that we cannot be in this league and have this level of play and have officiating be as bad as that.”

While saying that “so many parts of that game were mismanaged by the officials,” Hackworth was particularly angry about one call and one no-call late in Saturday’s contest.


The call: Union right back Sheanon Williams was shown a red card, along with Seattle’s Lamar Neagle, for a scuffle in the 85th minute – a rash decision by referee Jorge Gonzalez that Hackworth called “bizarre.”

The no-call: in the waning moments of second-half stoppage time and the game tied at 2-2, Conor Casey took a shot in the box that appeared to hit the hand of Seattle defender Leo Gonzalez.

Hackworth watched the replay following the match and called it the “clearest hand ball you can see on video.”

“That should not have been a draw in any way, shape or form,” Hackworth said. “There’s a clear penalty at the end of the game. How it’s not called is beyond me.”

Williams said he watched the end of the game live from the locker room with Jeff Parke, who had come out in the first half with a hamstring injury. Both of them hollered at the TV for a penalty kick.

“It’s a definite handball,” Williams said. “It’s a penalty.”

And although that last-minute no-call was one of the determining factors in the Union settling for a point, the red card on Williams will have even more of a more lasting impact. Sitting out Philly’s next game is even harder to swallow since the right back believes his red card was not warranted. Neagle's red card, he added, wasn't warranted either.

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“We shoved each other, got in each other’s faces and that was it,” Williams said. “The referee said we both headbutted each other. I never headbutted him. He never headbutted me. When we were walking off, I talked to him and asked him if he thought I headbutted him and he said, ‘No.’ And I said, ‘You know, I didn’t headbutt you,’ and he said, ‘Yeah, you’re right.’ And that was the end of it.”

The final few minutes of the game saw two more cards – a straight red on DeAndre Yedlin and a yellow on Eddie Johnson. But Hackworth said he didn’t think there was nearly enough stoppage time to help the Union benefit from their man-advantage.

“There’s so many little plays in that game,” Hackworth said. “It wasn’t against us necessarily. This can’t happen in this league. I’ll get what’s coming to me, but I’ll make a bold statement and say that is not allowed. That should not be allowed. And that guy [Jorge Gonzalez] has come here before and done the exact same thing.”

Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for Email him at