We kick off the proceedings with a fan favorite; a player who has played with the Union every season they've existed; a player who is the living example of building a team through a young core. That player is of course Amobi Okugo. But Okugo's contract expires at the end of the 2014 season, and he has expressed an interest in playing in Europe.
The Philadelphia Union should be aggressive in trying to retain Okugo, but what happens next may be out of their control.
Here are a few facts about Okugo's year:
Okugo had a base salary of $145K and total guaranteed compensation of $228K....Okugo played 1,260 of his 2,800 minutes as a defensive center back....the rest of the minutes were played in the defensive midfield...he was secind on the team in total minutes played and played in 32 of the 34 MLS regular season games for the Union....Okugo was tied for 2nd on the team in blocked shots per game with 0.7.
|Amobi Okugo Whoscored.com Stats
Okugo's defensive statistics are down compared to 2013, but that is due to spending more time in the midfield this season. That makes his small increase in pass completion percentage more impressive considering he was further up the pitch in 2014. His whoscored rating puts him 143rd in the league out of 267 players that had a minimum of 17 appearances.
Okugo is still a young player with plenty of upside. Should the Union give him a significant raise and try to keep him in Philadelphia, or will they be okay with Okugo fulfilling his dream and playing in Europe? This decision over the next month is vitally important as the Union need to decide if they should protect him in the expansion draft. If they do, and he decides to play elsewhere, then the Union have lost out on another player they could have protected and received nothing in return.
What do you think? Should Amobi stay or should he go?