UPDATE, 2:58 p.m. - For what it's worth, Sam McDowell of the Kansas City Star is reporting that the deal is done.
Ives Galarcep of Goal.com is reporting that Orlando City is finalizing a trade that will send midfielder Amobi Okugo to Sporting Kansas City in exchange for Servando Carrasco and "other undisclosed considerations."
Okugo would help address Sporting KC's pressing need for depth in central defense, while also giving head coach Peter Vermes another solid option in central midfield.
For Orlando City, the move appears to be one driven by future salary cap considerations, with Okugo set to make $300,000 in 2015 and Carrasco making $80,750. Sources tell Goal USA that Orlando City will pay $200,000 in salary cap considerations in the trade.
After a bright start to 2015, Okugo has fallen out of favor with Adrian Heath and has seen his form and his playing time drop over the past two months. Although considered a versatile player, it may simply be that Okugo's strengths don't fit Heath's system and he may be deemed expendable thanks to the emergence of the strong defensive midfield partnership of Cristian Higuita and Darwin Ceren.
Okugo has appeared in 15 games (nine starts) for the Lions this season, producing more yellow cards (five) than shots (four).
Perhaps Carrasco's biggest claim to fame at the moment is being married to USWNT star Alex Morgan, which could make things interesting if/when Orlando City adds an NWSL club.
Carrasco is a 26-year-old defensive midfielder from San Diego, CA, who grew up in Tijuana, Mexico. He played college soccer at California, scoring 13 goals in his four years there. He was a co-captain as a senior along with former New England Revolution defender A.J. Soares. He was a first-team All-Pac 10 selection his senior year.
Currently on his third MLS club, the 5-foot-10, 175-pound Carrasco was drafted in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft by the Seattle Sounders. He made 40 appearances (22 starts) in three seasons with Seattle, scoring one goal and assisting on another. On Sept. 13, 2013, Seattle traded Carrasco to Houston Dynamo along with a second-round pick in exchange for Adam Moffat. He played in 19 total matches (nine starts) in 2013 and 2014 with Houston, without registering a goal or assist.
Sporting Kansas City acquired Carrasco in exchange for the 30th overall pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft. He has appeared in nine games this season (six starts), playing 508 minutes and registering seven shots.
He is a good defender who has struggled at times with consistency in his passing.
The addition of Carrasco would replace the depth lost at defensive mid with Okugo's departure and at a fraction of the price.
Orlando City could be making a bid to clear up cap space to add additional pieces to the puzzle. Okugo is set to make $300,000 this year, while Carrasco's guaranteed money is just $85,375. Heath and General Manager Paul McDonough have already added back line help with the Corey Ashe acquisition last week, but Heath has been saying for weeks that he'd like to add a midfielder and a striker.
Could "other undisclosed considerations" involve a potential Dom Dwyer move after the 2015 season? That seems unlikely, considering SKC has apparently rebuffed significant interest from Orlando City already. It could mean Targeted Allocation Money (TAM), which could help the Lions buy down a young Designated Player like Bryan Rochez or Carlos Rivas, and make room for another DP.
City is going to be helping with some of Okugo's salary, according to Ives. Here's a follow-up tweet to his story:
Re: Okugo trade, I'm told #SportingKC cap relief total is a bit more than $200K, spread out over 2015-2016, so $100K+ each season.— Ives Galarcep (@SoccerByIves) July 20, 2015
That's going to help the Lions by cutting costs immediately and spreading what they do pay for Okugo out over time.
We'll continue to follow this story as it develops.