Draft News

Union lose Pedro Ribeiro to Orlando in Expansion Draft

Photo: Paul Rudderow

The short and promising career of Pedro Ribeiro with the Philadelphia Union is over.

In Wednesday’s Expansion Draft, Orlando City SC selected Ribeiro with their fourth pick.

After Ribeiro’s selection, the Union protected Michael Lahoud.

Union technical director Chris Albright said in a statement after the conclusion of the draft, “We thank Pedro for his time here in Philly and wish him the best as he continues his career in Orlando.”

No other Union players were selected in the draft. Former Union man — and Amobi Okugo roommate — Danny Mwanga was selected by Orlando in the seventh round.

Ribeiro’s Union connections began before he was selected by Philadelphia in the first round of the 2014 SuperDraft, 15th overall, to his time with PDL affiliate Reading United.

Ribeiro spent much of his rookie MLS season on loan to USL PRO affiliate Harrisburg City Islanders, where he played for some time at center back. The Brazilian scored four goals with two assists over 1034 minutes of play with the City Islanders.

On August 15, Ribeiro earned his first MLS start in the Union’s 2-0 road loss to Houston Dynamo. He scored his first MLS goal in his next start, a 2-2 draw against New York Red Bulls at PPL Park on Sept. 13. Ribeiro scored his second goal in the 2-1 home win over Kansas City on Oct. 18. In all, Ribeiro played 351 minutes over nine appearances for the Union, including 2 starts.

Attention now turns to phase one of the Re-entry Draft, which will take place on Friday.


  1. I tweeted this during the draft but…

    Losing Ribeiro isn’t a total loss IF [and a big if] the Fabinho trade rumors are true. I can stomach the loss if it we bring in a player who can immediately contribute to the current squad. Preferably a goal scorer.

    Orlando is taking on a big risk here. Though I think Ribeiro is incredibly talented and the Union should have kept him, it’s entirely possible he never pans out to be anything spectacular. Unlikely IMO.

    As it stands RSL and MTL are in need of a LB. Possibly Portland as well, but they still hold Villafana. Handful of players on either team I’d be interested in. Lets see.

    • Ribero isn’t a risk. He is a free player. It is low risk high reward for little money. If he even just raises to a solid bench player he more than pays off.

      • By selecting him Orlando has to bump his salary and count him against the cap. Provided the CBA doesn’t drastically change how the cap system works. Can only hold so many players on the senior roster etc.

      • still little money…

      • More about the spot than the money but an additional $10-20k in a cap league can be problematic

      • Orlando is paying KaKa what, $7M? I’m betting they figure out how to finagle around the extra $10K.

    • Ribeiro had 2 goals in 300 minutes last year in his rookie year playing out of position off the bench . . . Sapong had 2 goals in 800 minutes in his 4th year in the league. So which team is taking the biggest risk?

      • Two completely independent trades/issues. The Sapong trade was for a 10th rd pick in the draft. Will need to compare that talent to Sapong.
        Sapong was also played out of position the last two seasons. Just like Ribeiro. Can’t compare either player until both are settled in at their natural positions.

    • Fabinho trade rumors?
      Pinch me, please.

  2. Pissed about this. Was fine with everything that happened this week until now. Hate seeing rich clubs rob the blue collared clubs.

    Clearly, there was no handshake deal with Orlando to keep them from poaching our players.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      Yeah agreed on that. Thought the same thing. Now we have to turn MacMath or M’Bolhi (Ha!) into something of need

  3. 1. Could the MlS have some sort of better sounding set up?
    2. Ribero is a loss. Good luck buddy.
    3. We still have 3 keepers. I am always been a big defender of Zac Macmath but I would probably pick up Donovan Ricketts over him.
    4. What none of our players are good enough for you? Jerks!
    5. Taking a flyer on Danny Mwanga… huh.

  4. I’m so angry about this. How on earth could they allow this to happen

  5. Not the worst player to lose. Plenty of potential but was not going to play as a withdrawn striker with Maidana as the starter in that type of area of the field and did not look quite at home as a lone striker.

    Also, his selection opens up an international roster spot and makes our forward corps thin after declining Casey’s contract option. ALL THE MORE REASON TO BRING IN A DP STRIKER!!!!!

    • Calculated gamble on the FO’s part. May pan out in the long run depending on trade deals etc. Better to wait and make a judgement call after the dust has settled in February.
      Still curious about the goalie situation. Definitely leaves ZM as trade bait. Wait and see how the next 7-9 weeks pan out. A loss of Ribeiro and a few other players may not be so bad once we see a possible gain.

      • Rais M’Bohli was a calculated gamble. Ribeiro was the product of a staff without the sophistication to develop his skills correctly.

        So basically your entire 1st Round of the 2014 Draft has little-to-no impact on your future. Congratulations Nick Sakiewicz, the Al Davis of American Soccer (w/o the trophies).

      • + 1

  6. Good thing we protected Fabinho and Lahoud. I don’t know how I could have gone on living if the Union had lost one of them.

    • Couple of teams interested in Fabinho. May have been the smarter choice in the long run. Wait and see come February.

      • Yea I hear Real Unicorn and Fantasy FC have shown real interest in him.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        Real Unicorn. Hook em ‘Corns!!!

      • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

        HA. That was funny. Well played.

      • The Little Fish says:

        That is freakin hysterical! Real Unicorn. I love it sieve. Best post!

      • What are we getting for Fabinho, I mean really? Allocation money. That’s it. I’d rather still have Ribeiro.

      • Even if its allocation money, clears the player from the books for 2015. Could be used to pick up a proven attacking player. Can’t really make a decision until the dust settles.
        For what its worth allocation money can be valuable in a handful of ways. Union fans really disregard it, but it can be an effective mechanism for acquiring players internally and externally.

      • I do agree Jim and accept responsibility about being reactionary but man…WTF.

      • No I agree. Leaving PR unprotected was foolish. But nothing anyone here can really do about it

  7. old soccer coach says:

    Ribeiro’s biggest weakness is pace. But that said I would have protected him. He’s extremely versatile, good vision, excellent technically. Can play in the central channel in the back, in the mid – either holding or attacking,and up top. If nothing else Orlando has a utility man off the bench.

    • sir you are correct sir. this is stupid. who plays as a back up CAM- which is where this guy should have been seeing time. What he didn’t score so now you don’t protect him because you have NO IDEA where to put him? He’s not a striker.
      day after day this club is flummoxing me. WTF.

    • As a true #10 (CAM), his lack of pace could have been compensated for with his vision and passing ability. What a waste. Oh, well. Them’s the shakes…

  8. OneManWolfpack says:

    I’m not implying Riberio was the next coming, but you just drafted the guy last year and now he’s gone… and at the time a lot of folks were saying it was a steal. You didn’t even give him a shot, not to mention played him out of position. Again, not losing my mind over here, but protecting him over Fabinho (assuming the trade rumors aren’t true – and if they are it does change things) was a bit of a head scratcher.
    Well on to the next draft!!
    Literally. The waiver draft is 4:30 today.

    • Exactly. And we know Curtin liked him, too. I have this image of Curtin and Albright seated at a table in the PPL Park offices and when Orlando said “Pedro Ribiero, Curtin reaches over and strangles Albright yelling something like “You said they wouldn’t take Pedro! You said Protect Fashion!”

    • DIDN”T EVEN GIVE HIM A CHANCE. not one time.

      • +1, This team is baffling. I guess that’s what happens when you have a 35 year old coach of a half year, a 35 year old 1st year personnel ex player, and a guy who doesn’t know what a draft is, running the team…

      • Explain how Pedro wasn’t given a chance. He had the greatest chance of all in the Open Cup final and flubbed it.

      • Please.
        The guy was drafted as a CAM then played CB and then Striker.
        Given a chance, sure- and you judge he’s not good because he flubbed a shot.
        Please don’t comment on my comments.

  9. We have now officially determined that you can not even give away Zac MacMath. Blake can now go on loan this year and get lots of meaningful minutes somewhere and Zac plays when Rais is away. It really is not a bad situation.

    Losing Pedro sucks, but not the end of the world. He doesn’t look comfortable as a striker and is a tad slow from the midfield. He has the skills and size to turn into something, but that is a 50/50 proposition at best.

    • He was never given a shot at the one position he is suited for… CAM. The handling of Pedro was a mess from the beginning when HCI started him at CB.

    • have you at any time ever seen him play midfield, which many have said he played with vision, creativity and skill. I never once saw the guy play midfield. Gotta be smart to be a midfielder. Speed helps but he wasn’t slow. Quick feet I saw.
      Well, guess what, we will soon enough.

    • I agree that it’s not the end of the world. It’s just frustrating how the entire Pedro situation was handled from start to finish.
      He was drafted for his CAM ability (to learn and develop for the future), then shipped to HCI where he played… Center Back. (“team need due to injury”)
      Then, they tried him at Striker (HCI struggled all year at that position… Chalk it up to another “team need”).
      Then Union calls him up at plays him out of position again up top.
      Then Union doesn’t protect him or their 2014 back-up CAM (Fred). I know. Fred is not the future at CAM. That was supposed to be Pedro.
      Orlando takes Pedro.
      Frustrating from start to finish.

      • He won’t get a look at CAM in Orlando, will he? He’s behind Kaka, there, so…. Maybe a sub to spell Kaka? Unless they want to also play him out of position.

      • I would have taken him as our sub CAM. He would have been better than Fred.

      • If I were an Orlando fan, I’d want Pedro to develop and learn behind Kaka. Sub for him if needed, but let him soak up all he can. When Kaka rides into the sunset in a few years, he’s been groomed behind one of the best.

      • What a player to learn behind.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      This would be the obvious and best move (loaning out Blake, playing M’Bolhi with Zac as backup). Something tells me it will be nothing like this come March…

    • So basically had picks 2 and 6 at last year’s draft, and neither player provides any help for the team a year later. The college draft isn’t the be all end all but that’s more than a little disappointing. This team is not so deep that they can afford to just turn their nose up to that opportunity.

      • The college draft is a joke. 4 years of college ball will never be able to compete with the 17 year olds who go pro.

      • Agreed it’s not the best way to add talent, but it can help you build your team..if done properly.

      • Would you not take Steve Birnbaum, Tesho Akindele, Harry Shipp, Nick Hagglund?

        All of these guys drafted last year after the Union had a pick. I’d take any single one of them on the team right now.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        Steve Birnbaum… he was drafted by the Union right? Oh wait we took Blake.

  10. The Black Hand says:

    And the hits just keep on coming. We have lost a very promising, young player…that someone is going to make into a fine CF/S. To make matters worse, we are still tied to three keepers. Rough week…

    • CF/Striker? I really think he is best suited to back-up/learn from Chaco at CAM.

      • The Black Hand says:

        I think that someone is going to develop Pedro’s skill-set to suit his size and make him a very good attacker. I don’t think that it will take much…given the proper coaching. He already has the nose for goal…that’s the foundation that you want to build upon.

      • We don’t do any of this here in Philadelphia. Growth, youth, development… just buzz words.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Sad, but true. We would have a quality club, if we…(sigh)

  11. If you had asked me a week ago to name the Union’s two most promising young players, I’d have said, Okugo and Ribeiro. Apparently Orlando agrees. I feel like we got fleeced by the Floridians this week. Ghost of John Hackworth taking revenge?
    Edit: That said, I think Fabinho is better than people here give him credit for, and in the short term I probably would rather have him than Ribeiro, but I think the Union’s future cries here.

    • Wenger > Ribeiro and its not even close right now

      • Wenger is better now, but he’s also played alot more. Ribeiro’s potential is huge. See where compare in three years it may be far different then.

    • Fabinho isn’t a terrible player. He’s not outstanding, but he’s decent. I would probably take Ribeiro over Fabinho at this point, but if a trade comes through for a proven attacking player…

      • Why would someone give us a proven attacking player for Fabinho?????

      • Depends on the team. May need to clear a player from their books, too many players at one position. Handful of possibilities. Not saying it would be a player for player swap. Those are typically rare.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Sheanon and MacMath would be better options, to fetch a quality attacker. I would keep Fabinho, due to versatility as a sub (Fullback/Mid).

    • Your a genius. Well said Hobosocks. Well said.

  12. Another thing to keep in mind with the pick is that Orlando’s coaching staff has seen Ribeiro firsthand as an opponent in USL Pro. Harrisburg didn’t use him the in the same role Philadelphia did, either; he was more of a central back/occasional holding mid there. I can see him as a depth pick-up/potential backup for Okugo in Orlando who can join the attack if needed, too. I don’t think losing him is the end of the world for Philadelphia, but he is very valuable in terms of adding a lot of depth to an expansion team roster.

    • Yeah, Ribeiro’s size and skillset make him a puzzle that might hurt him in the long run. I wouldn’t be suprised if the narrative about him in a couple years is the same “man without a position” one that follows Wenger around.

      • A man PLAYED out of position, but with a natural skill set for CAM. Watch Orlando groom him for the future.

  13. Orlando-Union games are gonna be grudge matches! All you former season ticket holders will be pining for that one!

  14. I honestly have no clue where people keep getting their faith in the FO? Hand shake deal, big Fabinho trade (can’t believe I typed that), Blake out on loan, Striker DP coming, etc etc. It’s baffling to me. None of this is going to come true. If we trade Fabinho it’ll be for $100k in allocation. Blake isn’t going out on loan, they were hoping one of the other 2 were taken. We’re going to have Casey come back, pick up an outside back on the cheap, and use all our allocation money to pay for Edus transfer.
    Very disappointing week so far. And we don’t even have a first round pick anymore. I’m not sure why people even love Sapong so much. He’s better than wheeler, brown, hoppenot for sure, but I’m pretty sure I saw that Jack Mac had bad stars bc he only scored once every 3 games. Sapong isn’t even at that level.
    I’m trying desperately not to get worked up before everything plays out, but the FO is certainly not making it easy.

    • Dennis Bergkamp says:

      I’m depressed to say that I can’t disagree with anything you said here…..Not 4 days into the off season and I think it’s obvious we aren’t as good as we were when our season ended. Now we’ve been told to be patient – to wait and see. But haven’t we been told that before??? I’m very skeptical…..

      • We were. Last year, when it was obvious that the midfield sucked. They went out and got Chaco, Edu, and Nogs.
        Give them a little credit…

      • +100 for Rob.

      • Dennis Bergkamp says:

        and they still missed the playoffs…..I’m sorry you get credit when you accomplish something. The only thing they’ve accomplished is to stockpile keepers….

    • Jack Mac is not even close to Sapong in terms of talent and quality. He had a hot streak that fueled premature wet dreams in this city but could not even break into the USMNT B squad.

      Maybe it’s because as a whole, we did not grow up with just this game (football, i.e. -soccer) but all the complaints on these pages in the last few days scream SOCCER Noobs!!

      Some of the best players in the world started in different positions. Robin Van Persie was a left winger, Gareth Bale was a left back. Playing someone out of position is not a mortal sin if the player is of sufficient quality to adapt. So, playing a player out of position is not a bad thing UNLESS there are no results and no gain (Wenger as CF, Wheeler as CB).

      Second, Okugo was a solid player but not a world or even league leading DMF. Development is a 2 way street and since very few of us are at Union training everyday, there may possibly be a perception gap here. Why have the HGPs not lit up the roster? Maybe they just are not good and consistent enough.

      Ok, Hack did play favorites, and maybe Curtin will too (hell, my high school coach sure did), but at the end of the day it comes down to the individual player, his talent and value to the organization, and the economics. That could be the biggest reason why some players are not getting minutes instead of some nefarious plot by the FO.

      And to be clear, I am NOT DEFENDING the FO. But, I refuse to scapegoat the organization when they are just playing by the rules and with a modest budget.

      • Your points are fine and yes nobody gets to sit at headquarters and yes the whole point of this page is to rant and rave and voice opinion.
        We all have one. Including you which were pretty good- and yes you are also correct, shifting a player into a new position happens but don’t you at all find it interesting how often it has happened here? What does that tell you? Tells me too much turn over. Tells me too many people are uncertain. Tells me it is gum-shoe-luck hoping something sticks. Tells me the club is very impatient and well so am I cause what do we have to show for the last 5 years other then total and complete upheaval.
        Ribero gets drafted with pedigree and a skill set and is then converted to a CB at one club and then a striker at another and then is left to be taken cause why? none of us know and that is the point of the page jbh- to vent over the seemingly unbelievable turns of events.
        This notion that people think Okugo was great (aside from me cause I think he was) or a world beater or Pirlo as some have written is senseless. Who needs world beater. Who needs a 3 sigma world beater at MLS. Okugo is an excellent DM. Simple. As we will see for his new club over the course of time. Maybe he gets replaced. Maybe Edu plays there. Maybe soon all will be revealed by the FO and Albright and Curtin. Maybe all this is speculative jibber jab. That is the point of the sight.
        Seems to me The Union is content to either not utilize many of their players to the best of their ability or are totally willing to waste draft picks and get tired rather quickly of young potential filled players. That’s not being a Noob, is it. That is discernment IMO.

      • Joel, good points!

        >but don’t you at all find it interesting how often it has happened here? What does that tell you? Tells me too much turn over. Tells me too many people are uncertain. Tells me it is gum-shoe-luck hoping something sticks.

        How often it happened was less concerning than how botched it was, particularly with Hack. And yes, that says a lot about the manager. Good managers have been able to do this (Wenger, Fergusen) but it takes time, and we are all impatient. Still, I don’t think Hack had the chops to convert player positions and I doubt Curtin does either.
        I think the lack of transparency is what really bothers us, but which sports franchise on this earth is transparent? They all seem to do plenty behind the scenes with minimal communication to the supporters.

        MLS teams still need quality players and I have stated that Okugo was a good player BUT not at the level where the franchise was built around him, nor is he irreplaceable. There are other quality DMs in the league. The Okugo exit had more to do with economics and a crowded roster than “Not appreciating” him. I think Man U. appreciated Ronaldo (CR7) plenty, yet still shipped him off to Real Madrid. We should have gottent more $$ for Okugo.
        And if it looks like the Union will not utilize many of their players, then we are at least acting like a European club that are packed full of talented players that sometimes rarely see the field due to so many different factors. It’s frustrating across the pond as well so I take back the noob comment. We are actually bitching like supporters of the biggest teams. That’s progress, IMO 🙂

      • Excellent rebuttal. Your points are sound- Even the one on Hackworth page I responded to a bit sarcastically. Be well.

  15. Best of luck in Orlando Pedro!

  16. What is this team doing?
    I want a new sponsor: Chico’s Bail Bonds.

  17. Shane (new official OC FC supporter) says:

    MacMath, Blake, Marquez . . . 2 Backup GKs and a CB who’s yet to play in the league. That’s the sum total of the first five Philadelphia Union drafts. If that’s not a damning indictment of what’s systemically wrong with this team I don’t know what is.

    • 3 college drafts. Do we still really think that a promising player with 4 years of college ball is at Pro level? The MLS has improved and the entry bar is higher these days. Those college boys are now competing with kids who decided to turn pro and launched a career when they were still in their teens.

      • I am a big believer college soccer is a dead road to professional play. Well said. The Union are still dependent on it likely cause of the short history of the club. We will see soon enough if they know what they are doing off of Swedesford Road.

    • +alot. Nothing else needs be said in my opinion. Say what you want about the quality of the superdraft, but good teams find value there. We don’t.

      • Completely agree. Mullins is one example of a player that would have been a huge upgrade on our bench this past season. Wenger looks like a promising pro. Okugo, etc. I get that most don’t pan out, but there’s talent to be had there.

      • Agree. Mullins is talented. Riberio is talented. Both were unprotected though and both were taken.

        It is a numbers game on who to protect and really a guessing game on who the expansion teams value. Talented players will always end up lost in any expansion draft.

  18. I understand the lack of faith in the front office. The lack of results commands that.

    I too, was interested to see what Ribiero might become. That being said, the coaching staff sees a lot of more of the players than we do.

    And for all the moaning of other young players lost, Mwanga, Torres and the Farfans, they have all struggled since the Union cut ties. So in those cases, maybe the club was right. And maybe they are again. Only time will tell.

  19. OneManWolfpack says:

    Anyone the Union could have picked at #10 this year is not better than Sapong. So that trade can not be argued at all. Period.

  20. The Little Fish says:

    Does anybody have more info on Fabinho trade? I’m okay to wait and see what transpires next. Don’t fret. There will surely be shiny new toys under our tree before the ’15 season starts. The FO knows we weren’t good enough last year. Let’s wait and see what they do before damning them.

    • I only know that I was told there had been a few teams interested previously. But the impression I got is that a trade was not imminent. We’ll see.

  21. I guess it’s not just MLS and the Union. Today: Phillies trade Jimmy Rollins to the Dodgers and Jurgen Klinsman wants to play Bradley at CAM.

  22. way, way early in the offseason – player change inevitable because Union were not that good. sure more changes to come – as I recall (perhaps inaccurately), as of this time last year we had no Nogueira and no Chaco. two signings similar to that (while keeping those two) and Union move forward. hyperbole about the role players we are losing or may lose will soon be …. forgotten hyperbole.

    • All my comments above are grounded in….you had to know I wouldn’t take the Okugo move very well. Most all of this for me is vitriol and blood pressure control based on that. Ribero move is a bit symptomatic for the perceived dishevelment of club. Anyway, I still like my new sponsor idea above. Call me Boilermaker from now on.

  23. The Little Fish says:

    Sorry to see Ribs go but realistically where was he going to get minutes? At what position? Striker? I hope not! Midfield? Nope. Am I wrong? The thing is if Ribs were here and got significant minutes next year it would mean we didn’t properly re-arm ourselves for the 2015 season. Glass half full. WE NEED TO GET BETTER PLAYERS.

    • Maidana would often get subbed out and Ribiero would be a perfect like for like replacement for him

      • So would Leo IMO but he has not really seen the field under Curtin. Those first few games of the season he showed what he is capable of. I would like to see him get the chance as backup CAM.

      • You could say the same thing about Pfeffer too. To me he projects as a CAM who will make good runs into the box.

        Ribeiro isn’t necessarily the answer there, tho losing him does hurt symbolically.

  24. Does anyone know if a team is compensated with Allocation Money after losing a player in the expansion draft? I heard a $50k rumor but I’m not sure how valid it is.

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