After remaining quiet for the first two weeks of the summer transfer window, Sporting Kansas City utilized the trade market Monday when it sent midfielder Servando Carrasco to Orlando City SC in exchange for Amobi Okugo.
Okugo, 24, is primarily a center back, but he can also play in the defensive and central midfield. He has appeared in 15 matches with Orlando City SC this season, though he has not started a match since May 8.
“When the Amobi opportunity came up, especially that he can cover the central defender, defensive midfielder and (center midfielder roles), it wound up being a really good thing for us,” Sporting KC coach Peter Vermes said. “... He’s played a ton in the league, which is great. He’s got a lot of experience. So we think he’ll fit in pretty quickly.”
As part of the trade, Sporting KC will also receive cash considerations. According to figures released by the MLS Players Union, Okugo is scheduled to make $300,000 this season, while Carrasco will earn $85,375.
A former Generation Adidas signee — who was coached by Vermes — Okugo debuted for the Philadelphia Union in 2010. He started 87 matches for the Union from 2012-14 before joining Orlando City in 2015.
Vermes said Orlando City approached him a few times about Carrasco’s availability, but he was initially uninterested — until Okugo’s name entered the conversation.
Carrasco started six matches for Sporting KC this year but lost his starting job to Soni Mustivar and had not appeared in a match since May 29.
Sporting KC has been in the market for central defender depth since Ike Opara suffered a season-ending Achilles’ tendon injury on April 11. Homegrown talent Kevin Ellis has earned the praise of the coaching staff in Opara’s absence, but the team has only one healthy center back behind starters Ellis and Matt Besler — 18-year-old Erik Palmer-Brown, who on Monday was chosen to play in the MLS Homegrown Game, scheduled for July 28, a day before the MLS All-Star Game.