Okugo to be traded to Orlando City

Photo: Paul Rudderow

UPDATE: On Monday, the Union officially announced Okugo had been traded to Orlando City in exchange for allocation money and a second round pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft.

Philly Soccer Page has learned that Amobi Okugo will reject Philadelphia Union’s bona fide contract offer and sign a deal with expansion club Orlando City SC.

A source close to the situation says a deal will be signed as early as Monday in Orlando. Philly Soccer Page understands that Orlando City will send Philadelphia allocation money and a SuperDraft pick in exchange for Okugo’s rights.

The last player with the team since the start of the inaugural 2010 season, Okugo was given the opportunity to play in his preferred midfield spot in 2014 under Jim Curtin. However, his omission from the starting XI in the US Open Cup Final led to speculation about his long-term status with the club.

While he soon returned to the starting XI after the Open Cup Final, by the end of the season, Okugo no longer seemed to be a part of the Union’s long-term plans. With the end of his contract with the Union growing near, Union manager Jim Curtin said the team would make a bona fide offer to retain his rights. Curtin discussed the offer on the Nov. 12 episode of the KYW Philly Soccer Show but said that he expected Okugo to try his fortunes in Europe, repeating the same in an article published by MLSsoccer.com on Nov. 18.

After a slow start to his professional career under Peter Nowak, Okugo became a defensive stalwart under John Hackworth in 2012 and 2013. With 117 appearances (101 starts) under his belt, Okugo heads off to begin a new journey with another expansion club. According to a 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.”

Efforts to contact the Union for comment late on Sunday were unsuccessful.


  1. Ugh Jesus

  2. Wait, what??? Noooooooooooo!!!!

  3. I’m done. Good night.

  4. Well we knew he was on his way out. I honestly think he had mentally packed his bags a long time ago. At least we are getting something for him.
    I guess.

  5. I hope I am wrong but I sense rioting by the fans of the Union by the end of this upcoming season.The vision of this team was explained the fans as developing and keeping young talent. Letting Okugo go is not developing and keeping young talent.

  6. You mean a Super Draft pick that the FO can use to bypass players like Mullins? Or Akindele?

    Stupidity like this is why I’m glad I didn’t renew my ST.

  7. yeah this is bullshit. This team is soooo hard to root for. Slowly watching the league pass us by. Chivas of the East.

  8. No words!

  9. they will use the draft pick to pick another goalie that we wont use. That seems to be their MO

  10. Personally I’m a big Okugo fan, so this news is very distressing. The most annoying thing is that I feel like we never get an honest answer from this team- and this now includes Jim Curtin. Agree with above poster that the U should just up about how they believe in developing youth- because there is no actions to back up those words from this bunch. The scariest thing is since they obviously don’t know how to develop youth to build a winner and they’ve said they don’t have the money to buy a winner, how exactly are we going to get a winning team?

  11. I’m kinda hoping they lowballed him, because I prefer that reality to thinking that the Union’s longest tenured player, who knows the club better than anyone, opted for an expansion MLS side in Orlando.

    • Unfortunately, I think it’s the second scenario. I can’t really blame him for wanting to leave, even if the salaries would’ve been close. Playing alongside Kaka? Check. Better weather? Check. A full stadium every week (at least at first)? Check. Not having to travel through war-torn Chester every day? Check. A different front office? Check.

      I would guess that they indeed lowballed him, by the way.

  12. Has anyone checked on Joel? I have a feeling he will not receive this news well…

    • The Little Fish says:

      I’m concerned about Joel too. $100k will NOT be the salve for the deep wound Okugo’s departure will leave. Let’s wait though until the rest of the moves are made. Have faith Joel. Let’s play ‘Wait ‘n see” on this one. Kvist may actually fit better with Curtain’s ultimate lineup…

    • your altruism precedes you gentlemen. you are correct, this is bitterly disappointing.
      I will be the guy spray painting my disapproval on the Commodore Barry before they repaint it.

  13. can anyone explain to me how this is NOT free agency?

    • Because Orlando had to trade to get his rights. In free agency he walks for nothing.

      • in MLB, teams are compensated if they make a qualified offer to a free agent and he signs with another team… not seeing any difference in MLS.

  14. Why does this organization feel the need to constantly one-up itself in terms of idiotic moves?

    1) Giving Nowak total control; 2) Juan Diego Gonzalez; 3) Leaving Salinas unprotected; 4) Carlos Ruiz; 5) Deciding to toss Mondragon to the curb; 6) Trading Le Toux; 7) Trading Califf; 8) taking so long to fire Hackworth; 9) M’Bolhi; and now 9) deciding that a young, versatile, talented, future USMNT midfielder, respected around the league, that is hard working, who they could resign with ease, and fits our system is not worth it.

    • The Little Fish says:

      I hope you mean getting rid of Carlos Ruiz. Signing him was pretty shrewd at the time.

    • Mondragon wanted to go back home, that wasn’t on the Union… or so it was reported.

    • This comment might be considered heresy, but given the way the FO has handled this situation, I’m left thinking that Nowak was just a scapegoat.

    • MikeRSoccer,
      Some of these moves weren’t idiotic at all, like trading Le Toux at the time who was not producing at all like he should have been and quite frankly, he has never climbed back up to where he was when he was playing aside Danny Mwanga. Secondly, trading Califf was obvious and should have happened. The only thing he knew how to do was obstruct the opposing player and cause dangerous fouls. He was one who was idiotic on the field most of the time. I agree though that Hackworth should have been fired earlier. I don’t think Okugo would have stayed either way. I think he made his mind up.

  15. Send me back my season ticket money

  16. The Little Fish says:

    We better get that draft pick! Some reports are saying no draft pick just the allocation money. That would suck.

  17. This was the biggest news nugget in the article-“the Union’s long-term plans”, who knew they had long term plans? I thought they made this up as they went along.

    So…this is all by design?

  18. When I read the Kvist rumors yesterday, I figured that had to mean he was seen as a replacement for Okugo. And here the other shoe drops.

    I get the feeling there’s some part of the story we’ll never get… Some event that happened that punched Okugo’s ticket out of Philly. Something that created a rift between him and Curtain. It doesn’t feel like a soccer decision.

  19. I sincerely hope season ticket sales are slow and people wait and see what this organization comes up with. After watching the cup final yesterday I can’t help but feel … I just say anxious again. This organization’s weak financial footing does not instill me with confidence short term or long term. This organization needs more than Sugarman and small investments. It needs a heavy weight for this market. I also don’t get a great feeling about Curtin and Albright as talent scouts. The Union do more robbing Paul to pay Peter and that’s never a good thing. I truly hope I’m wrong.

    • we’ll see what they have planned. Okugo was out no matter what, and the rumors for his replacement have been pretty promising. So we’ll see how this shakes out.

    • The end of your post is exactly correct – whenever Union make a move there are entries on both sides of the ledger. I bought this when the explanation was cap trouble because of Nowak but now it is obvious the ownership has none/will not spend money. Okugo allocation $$ plus any $$ if Valdes is sold will just be used to sign Edu. Sorry guys I don’t want to wait around for your investments in the academy to find the player from the local Y who is going to be the next Landon Donovan.

  20. There better be a bleeping plan. Its still just early December. But there better be a plan.

  21. I think the real gut-check here is that Orlando recognize he’s one of the best Dmids in the league. Our own team doesn’t recognize it, but a club not even in the league yet does. Shame.

  22. I would feel much better if the first moves were either a notable striker or solid left back. If we go thru this off season and nothing is sign sealed and delivered I’m done wasting my time. When we were told we were getting and MLS franchise finally I could never have guessed that this was what we’d get stuck with. I want to be commited to this team but I will not make the trek from NY to Chester if this organization is going to have to penny pinch and constantly make deals involving allocation money because they have to be at the less financially sound rung in the league. I get that it’s what they are however it does not bode well for us competing with NY and others as this league grows and becomes more prominent. I would like to know where the Union actually rank in order of financial stability in MLS.

  23. Although I am quite disappointed in the fact we are getting almost nothing for a good player I feel like union fans as a whole highly overate Okugo. To me he looks like a solid Dmid or Centerback in MLS who doesn’t quite have the ceiling to play at a big club in Europe or make a big impact on the USMNT. With that being said the Union better have a plan bc I still dont trust Albright and Curtin’s ability to identify talent considering they both have almost no coaching experience.

  24. What lousy news. Did Sak mishear? He thought that Amobi was looking at Europe when he was talking about Epcot?

    That being said, if you look at it from Amobi’s perspective, his contract was over and he has a chance to look around. He got interest from an expansion team that planned far enough in advance to get Kaka…and told him that he would be playing holding mid. What’s not to love? Here, the lineup changes and shifts, three guys playing goal and a season with various fullback lines that always seemed just on the edge of jury-rigged would frustrate me. I can understand his decision, especially if he got a better offer in terms of money. He might hope for a team that doesn’t keep trying toput a striker in the center of the back line.

    I hope that the “deal” either falls through or does at least include a draft choice. If not, I wish him well, even though he is one of the guys that I hoped to only wish a happy retirement instead of luck against everybody but the Union.

  25. Southside Johnny says:

    Good for Amobi. These bozos in suits don’t deserve him. The list of good players soured by this organization grows ever longer while the knowledgeable fan base must be dwindling. What Amaro has done to the Phillies and these sleezebags have done with a fantastic opportunity with a new franchise have given me a new low point in a long life as a Philadelphia sports fan.

  26. Nice! I was planning on following Orlando next year anyway. This is an extra bonus!!

  27. Wait, can’t we all just join the Orlando City supporters’ club? It’s Orlando for goodness sakes. Only a 3 hour flight. May be easier to get there than to Chester on public transportation. And there’s Disney World!

  28. Everyone needs to stop crying over Okugo. Yes, don’t get me wrong he was one of my favorite players here and deserved to start, but if we really look at this past season I think he was below stellar. Bad? no of course not, he was pretty good, but he could have contributed a lot more I think. All I know is that I don’t believe he wanted to stay and I don’t think the Union could have changed his mind. Also, it seems that we acquired allocation money and a possible draft pick so we didn’t send him off to get nothing back which is a smart and obvious move

  29. Good Luck Amobi We Will Miss You!

  30. Situational Normal. FUBAR.

    • Still I wake up this morning, see and feel a Nor’easter outside and wish it was just a bad dream, but no…alas, the Union did indeed trade their best player.

  31. The Chopper says:

    I am sorry to see him go, but it is likely best for all involved. Curtinl has plans for how he intends to deploy Edu and Noguiera and doesn’t see the right fit for Okugo to garner a new deal at the money that Amobi will get elsewhere.

    A good player who will hopefully do well in Orlando. Curtin is very familiar with Okugo and certainly was more than willing to part with him. I will trust his judgement for now.

  32. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzz Union ZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzz.

  33. Steve OMalley says:

    Stay faithful trust curtin and hope for another dp

  34. Okugo: solid player but no Andrea Pirlo or Beckenbuer so even if he was a fan favorite, you don’t build a team around him and claiming he is the best DM in MLS is a bit far fetched.

    • Orlando claims he is one of the best DM in the league and who exactly in the world is Pirlo or Beckenbauer. This is MLS. They are all time players. Okugo is easily a top echelon DM with time on his side. Clearly, Orlando thinks so….so maybe Orlando is right and the Union are a bit off?

  35. The Black Hand says:


  36. The Black Hand says:

    Not much to say of this. The Union decided that Edu was the better call. Terrible decision! Will it ever end???

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