The Philadelphia Union will take the PPL Park pitch against D.C. United on Saturday to usher in a new era.
Head coach Peter Nowak was relieved of his coaching duties Wednesday, ending his tenure as the club's first ever manager. John Hackworth was named Nowak's replacement on an interim basis.
The Union also reshuffled their squad during the league's two-week hiatus, sending striker Danny Mwanga to the Portland Timbers in exchange for striker Jorge Perlaza.
Philadelphia could use all the help it can get at the moment. The Union sit second from bottom in the Eastern Conference on eight points and have managed to score just eight goals, tying them with last-place Toronto FC for the fewest goals scored this term.
Adding insult to injury, Philadelphia is coming off of a 1-0 loss to Toronto, a result that handed the Canadian club its first points of the season after an 0-9-0 start.
D.C. United has had a much more enjoyable campaign thus far, leading the Eastern Conference with 27 points through 15 games. The club is currently riding a three-game winning streak, its longest since it won four in a row in June of 2008.
Even though United reached that distinction with a 3-2 defeat of the New England Revolution on May 26, head coach Ben Olsen still found cause for disappointment.
"I want to play a different way, and I wish we would've been a little sharper, but again, I'm looking at the body of three wins at home, which we haven't done at this club since [June 2008]," Olsen said. "This is positive stuff, and I'm not downplaying that. Again, I'm maybe just being a little negative; I'm a little unfulfilled with that game."
D.C. is proving to be a strong team in dead-ball situations. It produced two goals from set pieces against New England and has now totaled three goals from corner kicks and two goals from free kicks this season.
"It's very important," said defender Daniel Woolard. "Look at L.A. and how [David] Beckham serves the ball and how many goals they score from it. I think Branko can do the same thing for us. He whips a great ball in and, when you know it's going to be in a good spot, the attacking players put more effort to get on the end of it."