By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia Union return to MLS action tonight on the road with a match against Sporting Kansas City.
Philadelphia has played with a bit of bounce in its step since the mid-season change at team manager, Jim Curtin taking over for John Hackworth on an interim basis. Philadelphia has gone 2-1-2 in MLS play since the change (5-8-8 overall – 23 points). Curtin hasn’t made many changes, but one thing he has done is move Amobi Okugo back to the midfield.
“Center-mid’s the spot I’ve played in all my life,” Okugo tells KYW Newsradio. “It’s been kind of an adjustment just depending on who I’m playing with, but you’ve got to be able to get the chemistry as soon as possible. So far it’s been doing well, we’ve been doing well, we’ve been winning, we’re just trying to keep it moving forward.”
Early in the season, Philadelphia struggled to score goals. But that hasn’t been a problem as of late. They have 23 goals in their last 10 MLS matches.
“It’s not just one guy scoring, we have a couple guys scoring,” Okugo says. “Everyone’s contributing. I feel like once (forward) Conor (Casey) got ready to go, once he got settled into the team again, now we’re clicking on all cylinders from an offensive standpoint.”
Sporting Kansas City is the best team in the Eastern Conference with 38 points thanks to a record of 11-5-5. Despite that, Philadelphia marched into KC and picked up a 2-1 win in their last meeting back on May 14th. They also won at Kansas City last season in their only visit.
“We’re just going to take that confidence where we always play good, they have a great atmosphere, they have a great team,” Okugo says. “But we feel like we match-up well against them and we’re always motivated to play against them. I feel like ever since they beat us in that (U.S.) Open Cup run two years ago, we’ve always been eager to play them and show them what we can do.”
Philadelphia made big news this week, acquiring Algerian international and World Cup veteran goalkeeper Rais Mbolhi. But tonight, Zac MacMath is expected to still be in goal.
Philadelphia and Kansas City get underway tonight at 8:00pm.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.