Nick Sakiewicz departs Philadelphia Union CEO position

Nick Sakiewicz has confirmed to ESPN FC that he is no longer the CEO and Operating Partner of the Philadelphia Union.

CBSPhilly.com first reported the news that Sakiewicz would no longer handle the day-to-day running of the club. The report stated that majority owner Jay Sugarman has scheduled a meeting with senior staff for 9am Friday, which will be followed by a meeting with the rest of the club's employees.

Sakiewicz confirmed the news to ESPN FC via text message.

"I enjoyed my time at the Philadelphia Union and am proud of the team, the organization and the stadium that we built," he said. "I wish the Union, Jay Sugarman and the entire organization the best of luck and continued success."

The move took place just a day after the Union lost the final of the U.S. Open Cup in its home stadium for the second year in a row. On this occasion Philadelphia fell to Sporting Kansas City 7-6 in a penalty shootout after extra time finished 1-1.

Sakiewicz's tenure was marked by some early accomplishments, but that was followed by a long period of struggle on the field. The early days looked promising with the building of PPL Park in Chester, Pa., and in 2011, under manager Peter Nowak, the team reached the MLS playoffs in its second season, finishing third in the Eastern Conference. The Union was ousted in the Eastern Conference semifinals by the Houston Dynamo.

That proved to be the high-water mark for the club, however. It has failed to reach the postseason since. The Union's record of 9-15-7 currently has it in ninth place in the 10-team Eastern Conference. It will be eliminated from playoff contention with a tie or a loss this weekend against Toronto FC.

As the streak of seasons without a playoff berth increased, so did the criticism of Sakiewicz. On May 17, the fan group Sons of Ben held a protest march outside of PPL Park in which it displayed a banner stating: "UNION FANS DESERVE BETTER".

Sakiewicz was the president of the now defunct Tampa Bay Mutiny from 1996-99, and won the league's Executive of the Year award in 1999. He held the same position with the New York MetroStars -- the forerunner to the New York Red Bulls -- from 2000-05.