Philadelphia Union CEO Nick Sakiewicz confirmed that former Fulham manager Rene Meulensteen is a candidate to be the club's next head coach, but said that no final decision has been made about the position.
Philadelphia has been without a permanent head coach since parting ways with John Hackworth on June 10 following a 3-7-6 start to the league season. Assistant coach Jim Curtin has assumed the head coaching duties since that time, leading the club to a 9-2-4 record in all competitions, as well as a spot in next Tuesday's U.S. Open Cup final against the Seattle Sounders.
The team's improved performance has led Curtin to be a finalist for the head coaching position, a group that includes former Montreal Impact manager Jesse Marsch, former New York Red Bulls assistant John Harkes, and former U.S. international goalkeeper Tony Meola.
But in recent weeks, Meulensteen has been rumored to be the frontrunner, with a series of tweets from Soccerly's Kevin Kinkead suggesting that the former Manchester United assistant had already been chosen and that the team was waiting until after the U.S. Open Cup final to make an announcement. Sakiewicz denied that this was the case.
"Absolutely no decision has been made," said Sakiewicz via telephone. "About three weeks ago, I suspended any kind of search activity for a new coach. I'm probably going to pick it up some time after the Open Cup. But [the new coach is] completely undetermined."
Previously, Sakiewicz had only confirmed Curtin, Marsch, Harkes, and Meola as being finalists. On Wednesday, Sakiewicz stated that Meulensteen, who reportedly was seen attending a Union match earlier this summer, had interviewed for the position, and was on his shortlist.
"[Meulensteen] is amongst a small group of candidates that I regard very highly for the position," he said.