Okugo will not be wearing the armband Saturday - it returned last week to Brian Carroll - but the Union will rely heavily on their central defender against visiting Montreal.
The Impact return last season's 20-goal scorer, Marco Di Vaio, from suspension. It is unclear whether the team will use a two-striker formation and pair Di Vaio up top with Lancaster native Andrew Wenger. Union manager John Hackworth said his team is preparing for both options.
Okugo transitioned from midfielder to defense in 2012. He said he has found comfort in his new position, seeing plays before they happen. Okugo played as a central midfielder almost his entire career, including long stints with the youth U.S. national teams. The biggest adjustment was dealing with the physical play of opposing forwards, which Okugo said he has mastered.
Hackworth said Okugo continues to develop each season and can continue to grow into one of the league's best center backs.
That growth could land Okugo on the U.S. men's team. He turned 23 this month, making him ineligible for the under-23 national team. He said he is unsure of his future with the national team, which he has been a part of since 2006.
"I feel like I've been with every national team setup from the very beginning," Okugo said. "So I feel that [the men's team] is the next step. I just have to keep playing well, and hopefully that comes."
The first 5,000 fans Saturday will receive an Okugo bobblehead. He did not know about the giveaway until a fan alerted him on Twitter this week. Another fan told the five-year veteran that the bobblehead "makes him officially a professional."
Okugo said the doll doesn't really look like him.
"It doesn't really have my features," he said. "But I guess it's all right."