The LA Galaxy have won the 2014 MLS Cup and the MLS offseason is officially upon us. With the Expansion Draft on December 10th, the league has a half-day trade window on Monday. It will be a busy day for movement of players around the league. On Sunday, first Philly Soccer Page reported that Philadelphia Union will trade Amobi Okugo in return for a 2015 MLS SuperDraft pick and allocation money. Soccer By Ives has confirmed Okugo to Orlando, but that no draft pick is involved, and the allocation money amount is $100k.
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The deal is expected to be announced on Monday, however, the exact allocation money amount will not be given.
To the displeasure of many Union fans, this move makes sense despite the puzzling moves made by Philadelphia’s front office in the past. Okugo’s contract with the Union expires at year’s end and it was expected that he would test himself over in Europe. If he went to Europe after the Union made a bonafide contract offer, the Philadelphia would get nothing in return for him. They would only retain his MLS rights in the chance he returned to MLS. However, now Orlando City SC will take that risk on until they sign him to a contract, which appears will also occur on Monday.
During his time in Philadelphia recently, Okugo primarily played defense. This is out of his natural position as a midfielder, more specifically a No. 6 role. This decision to play Okugo by the Union organization across multiple coaches was not good for Okugo’s development or to his liking. Okugo is a talented player that could have seen a call-up during two years in his prime, but playing central defender killed that. It would appear by heading to Orlando that they will play Okugo in a midfielder role.
With Okugo’s veteran experience and leadership heading to Orlando City, Lions fans should be excited. Expansion sides don’t always succeed in their first year in MLS, but Okugo is a player they can build around and compliment. Yes, having Kaka as well does not hurt, but Okugo understands MLS and how other MLS teams play, and that goes a long way. It appears Okugo finding Kaka on a streaking run will become the norm in the Sunshine State.
"According to a PSP source close to the situation, “Orlando City has been scouting Okugo for some time and believes ‘he is one of the best holding midfielders in the league and they want him to hold for Kaka and think it can be a tremendous partnership.'”"
Okugo reported move to Orlando City is the first of many to expect on Monday. The league will have a four-hour window (9 AM EST to 1pm EST) for trades before teams must turn in the players they are protecting before Wednesday’s draft. The Union’s inability to play Okugo in his natural position is the major reason why Okugo declined their bonafide contract offer and is now on his way to an Eastern Conference opponent.
Stay tuned to Playing for 90 as bring you the trades and roster moves as they happen on Monday.