Orlando City added midfielder Pedro Ribeiro from the Philadelphia Union with the fourth pick in the MLS Expansion Draft, grabbing a player that Union Coach Jim Curtin hated to see go.
Friend of The Mane Land, Eugene Rupinski from SB Nation's Union blog, The Brotherly Game, recently stopped by to tell us about Amobi Okugo. Now he drops in to give us the lowdown on Ribeiro, a 24-year-old Brazilian with two goals in nine career MLS games (three starts). He was the No. 15 pick in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft. Learning is fun, so let's get to it.
How are Philadelphia Union fans feeling about losing Pedro Ribeiro -- good, bad or meh?
Eugene Rupinsky: "I think the consensus is "meh." We all would have liked to see Pedro develop into a solid attacking midfielder, but that obviously won't happen here. And since he saw very limited action for the Union last season, we can't really miss what we don't know."
We realize he only played in nine games, but what was Ribeiro like with the Union, both on and off the field?
EP: "On the field, Pedro seems like a kid who was adjusting well to life as a professional soccer player. He was played out of position as a lone striker a few times, so it's hard to tell really how he did. You can tell it's an adjustment though. He is a big kid who is learning how to be physical against the big physical center backs in MLS. He was very good in space, and seemed to be learning how to use his body and size to work against defenders. Off the field, he was quiet as far as we could tell. He wasn't one to constantly tweet out selfies or blow up social media, which for a fan is a bit dull."
Did you get a chance to see him enough to learn the strengths and weaknesses of his game?
EP: "I don't feel like we got to see enough of him to really make a determination. I do know that he still has a lot to learn about how things work -- for instance, there was a game he plays in where he had beaten the offside trap and was going in on goal. The center back was able to grab on to him in the box, and instead of allowing himself to be pulled down for a penalty (no one wants to encourage diving), he fought through and wound up missing the shot. He learned though, because in a game against New York Red Bulls he got tangled with Sekgaya in the box and went down, drawing a penalty that was converted to salvage a tie against our most hated rivals."
Where do you see him fitting in Adrian Heath's preferred 4-2-3-1 formation?
EP: "I think he'll do fine, especially being able to learn from a world-class player like Kaká. It'll still be a bit of a learning process, but I think he's going to develop into a very good player."
So now you know a little more about Orlando City's newest Brazilian. Ribeiro seems to have quite a bit of potential. It will be interesting to track his career with the Lions and see if he lives up to that potential.Thanks again to the folks over at Brotherly Game for their insight on Orlando City's new midfielder.
Now here's a brief look at what Ribeiro can do: