Story courtesy of the Orlando Sentinel
Orlando City has completed two massive trades to bulk up the core of its inaugural Major League Soccer roster ahead of Wednesday’s expansion draft.
The Lions have acquired defender Aurélien Collin from Sporting Kansas City and defensive center midfielder Amobi Okugo from the Philadelphia Union, according to a source with direct knowledge of the deal. The moves give Orlando City two high-end quality starters with MLS experience to bolster a team as yet devoid of that quality.
According to the source, Orlando City sent Sporting allocation money and future considerations for Collin and allocation money and a second round pick in the 2016 SuperDraft for Okugo.
Orlando City has also acquired a two-year international roster spot from D.C. United in exchange for allocation money, the source said.
Multiple outlets reported the Okugo trade late Sunday night. Ives Galarcep reported Orlando City was sending $100,000 in allocation money to Philadelphia in the deal.
Both Collin and Okugo have agreed to new deals with Orlando City. While details of those deals have not been disclosed, neither player will be a designated player for the Lions.
Collin is a three-time MLS All-Star and two-time MLS Best XI selection and will immediately be slotted in as a starting centerback that solidifies Orlando City’s back line. The Sporting Kansas City star has started 103 of 107 career regular season games and 10 playoff games in MLS over four seasons, scoring 11 goals with two assists and establishing himself as one of the league’s most influential central defenders.
The Frenchman also has championship experience, winning MLS Cup with Sporting in 2013 and being named 2013 MLS Cup MVP after scoring the equalizer and converting the game-winning penalty against Real Salt Lake.
Okugo will fit in perfectly to Orlando City’s 4-2-3-1 formation in one of two defensive central midfield roles. The midfielder is just 23 years old but has played five seasons with the Union, starting 101 of 117 league games since being drafted No. 6 overall as a Generation Adidas signee out of UCLA in 2010.
The former U.S. youth national team stalwart has five career goals and six assists, and was considered a key piece and fan favorite in Philadelphia. Okugo has the ability to play centerback, as well.
Per reports, Okugo considered leaving for Europe, but it appears Orlando City was able to swoop in to convince him to remain in MLS.
The club also made official the deal for goalkeeper Tally Hall, who will join Orlando City from the Houston Dynamo. Orlando City sent allocation money and a two-year international roster spot to Houston for Hall.
Orlando City now has 12 players under contract ahead of Wednesday’s 10-round expansion draft. Hall, defenders Rafael Ramos, Tyler Turner, Tommy Redding, Luke Boden and Collin; midfielders Estrela, Harrison Heath, Kevin Molino, Kaká, Okugo and Darwin Cerén.