CHESTER, Pa. - The Philadelphia Union dismissed manager Peter Nowak on Wednesday, after the MLS team struggled to a 2-7-2 start.

The Union, stuck in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, will be led on an interim basis by John Hackworth.

Nowak, 47, was named Philadelphia's first team manager on May 29, 2009. In 75 MLS games, Nowak went 21-30-24 and led the team to its first-ever playoff appearance in 2011.

However, after the season, the Union traded leading scorer Sebastien Le Toux and released All-Star goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon. Last week, they traded former No. 1 overall draft pick Danny Mwanga.

Wednesday's move came less than a week after a report in the Edinburgh Evening News that Nowak had applied for the coaching job with Hearts in the Scottish Premier League. Nowak told the Philadelphia Daily News that the report was "absolutely false."

Hackworth, 42, has filled in for Nowak as coach several times, leading the Union in MLS action, international friendlies and U.S. Open Cup play, as well.

Hackworth came to Philadelphia after two years as an assistant with the U.S. national team under Bob Bradley. He helped guide the squad to a first-place finish in group play in World Cup qualifying, and a second-place finish in the 2009 Confederations Cup.

In 2008, Hackworth, a former college coach at the University of South Florida and Wake Forest University, earned the United States Olympic Committee Developmental Coach of the Year award.