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Q&A with Brotherly Game On Defensive Midfielder Amobi Okugo

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Eugene Rupinski of Brotherly Game, SB Nation's Philadelphia Union blog, stops by to tell us about new Orlando City defensive midfielder Amobi Okugo.

Okugo with Coach Adrian Heath
Okugo with Coach Adrian Heath
Orlando City SC
Yesterday, we learned that Philadelphia Union midfielder Amobi Okugo would be coming down to Orlando. So, we decided to reach out to some of his previous fans and ask their opinion of the Lions' new defensive midfielder.

We spoke to Eugene Rupinski, one of the managing editors at SB Nation's Philadelphia Union blog Brotherly Game, about just how important Okugo will be for Orlando going forward.

How do Philadelphia fans feel with Okugo moving on? Was it a matter of clearing space or was it more of the time being right to part ways?

Eugene Rupinski: The fans here are really upset. Everyone figured that Amobi wouldn't re-sign with the Union and would opt instead to go to Europe during the off-season. He had a training stint in 2011 with Freiburg and it just seemed like the natural progression of things. To see him traded -- for a Second Round Pick in 2016 and allocation money -- is certainly a shock.

What kind of player do you feel Amobi was to the Union organization, not just on the field, but off it as well?

ER: Amobi was loved here -- not only because he was the last player who had been here since the beginning (Sheanon Williams came halfway through the 2010 season from Harrisburg and Sebastien Le Toux was exiled to Vancouver and New York for 2012 before being re-acquired), but because he was such a nice guy. Amobi never complained about lack of playing time or being played in the wrong position (a central defensive midfielder by trade, he was shoehorned into a center back role by ex-manager John Hackworth). He was the consummate professional and really seemed to appreciate the unique position he was in as a professional athlete.

What are some of the biggest strengths that Okugo brought to Philly? How was his play effective to the teammates he had around him?

ER: Amobi has a vision that you don't often see from defensive midfielders. He has the ability to serve as an offensive dynamo from the CDM position, placing balls to attacking players up the field with very little wasted effort or time. A complete player, his positioning on defense is also good enough that he excelled at center back when forced to play the position. He made his teammates better by relieving the pressure on them defensively while being able to spring a forward on the attack.

Being one of the first players drafted by the Union back in 2010, what are some of the most memorable moments of him with the organization?

ER: My personal favorite was this goal off of the Sheanon Williams throw in. Shea's long throws are a weapon, and Amobi's run is timed perfectly. Just a perfect set-piece goal.

Finally, what will you miss most from Okugo?

ER: The professionalism and class that he brought not only on the field but off as well. A friend told me about going to see a US U-20s match in Dallas, where Amobi stayed well after the other players had left to talk to the fans, even though it was freezing cold. It's not often you get a good player who is a good human being too. You got one of the good ones. Treat him well, Orlando.

Thanks again to the folks over at Brotherly Game for their insight on Orlando City's newest signing.