Orlando City has traded midfielder/defender Amobi Okugo to Sporting Kansas City in exchange for defensive midfielder Servando Carrasco, as originally reported by Ives Galarcep of Goal.com. City's release stated that "additional details of the deal were not disclosed," meaning it's likely that Sporting KC is also getting cap relief and Orlando will receive future considerations as reported by Galarcep earlier today.
Okugo becomes the first original MLS Lion to leave Orlando, after originally being acquired by the club on Dec. 8, 2014 -- on the same day the Aurelien Collin and Tally Hall deals were announced -- in exchange for allocation money and a second-round pick in the 2016 SuperDraft.
After a bright start to 2015, Okugo had fallen out of favor with Adrian Heath and saw 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 didn't fit Heath's system and therefore he was deemed expendable, thanks to the emergence of the strong defensive midfield partnership of Cristian Higuita and Darwin Ceren.
Okugo 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 down the road.
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. Carrasco 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.
The 5-foot-10, 175-pound Carrasco is now on his fourth MLS club, after being 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 replaces the depth lost at defensive mid with Okugo's departure and at a fraction of the price, even though City is reportedly also giving SKC some cap relief, spread out over this season and next.
Orlando City could be making a bid to clear up cap space to add additional pieces to the puzzle. 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.
UPDATE: 7/21/15, 8:49 a.m.
Paul Tenorio of the Orlando Sentinel provided further details on the trade.
The silver lining is that the move will open up a good chunk of cap space both in the short- and long-term. Even if Orlando City will pay approximately $200,000 in cap charges over the next two seasons, the move will still save the club more than $100,000 in cap space this year and next year.
McDonough declined to go into the specifics of the financial aspects of the deal other than to say that the trade did not include targeted allocation money. He also said that this move is not directly tied to a specific upcoming signing.
Orlando City continues to shop in the summer window, and McDonough said Orlando City is "close" to making a move, "it's just taking a little bit longer than we had hoped."
We'll have more on Servando Carrasco in a blog exchange with The Blue Testament soon.