Despite a new title, it's business as usual for Peter Nowak.
Yesterday, Union CEO Nick Sakiewicz announced that the manager also has been named executive vice president of soccer operations. In his expanded role, Nowak will oversee all aspects of the club, from the Union's first team to the youth academy.
It is unclear whether Nowak will take over the duties of youth development coordinator currently performed by assistant John Hackworth, or if the two will share the load. Brendan Burke, coach of Union Premier Development League affiliate Reading A.C., will also coach the Union reserves and answer directly to Nowak.
Nowak discussed his new role during his weekly news conference yesterday.
"It's a great honor to be in this position, but nothing changes really," Nowak said. "You know, I'm here to do a job and no matter what the title is I know what I was brought here to ultimately do."
His immediate task is to coach the Union (2-0-0, six points) to another victory.
The team, which is atop the MLS' Eastern Conference standings, leaves tomorrow for a Saturday night match against David Beckham's star-studded Los Angeles Galaxy (1-1-1, four points). Nowak described the game as a "true test of how far [his players] have come."
One player not expected to make the trip is midfielder Justin Mapp, who Nowak said is still hampered by a hamstring strain that kept him out of action in last Saturday's 1-0 win over Vancouver. Mapp has been practicing, but according to Nowak has "little chance of making the trip."
In all, Nowak said five players are nursing injuries, including star midfielder Sebastien Le Toux (left ankle), whom Nowak said was "still not at 100 percent, but is getting there."
Additionally, defenders Danny Califf (left knee meniscus) and Carlos Valdes (right ankle sprain) are on the mend.
"Right now those players are taking the steps needed to get healthy,'' Nowak said. "This is a big game for us and we need to make sure our guys are fresh and focused."
Odds and endlines
Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath aided the U.S. Under-20 national team in a 4-0 rout of Suriname in the CONCACAF Under-20 championships in Guatemala Tuesday. MacMath had a quiet game, needing to only make one save on two shots. Union teammate Amobi Okugo started the first half, picking up a caution in the 35th minute. The U.S. will take on Panama in the final game of group play Saturday, (6 p.m., ESPN3).