Orozco Excited About Union's Potential

How’s this for a fascinating twist entering Saturday’s game at Red Bull New York?

If not for a deal between Philadelphia Union and New York, defender Michael Orozco might never have gotten to Philadelphia.

Philadelphia Union was able to sign Orozco thanks to a deal with Red Bull New York, in which Philadelphia sent allocation money to New York in exchange for the Red Bulls’ top spot in the Major League Soccer allocation order. The Union then used that top spot to acquire Orozco.

Fascinating indeed.

Orozco and his Philadelphia Union teammates will look to even their record at 2-2-0 when they travel to Red Bull Arena for a 4:00 p.m. clash on Saturday.

“I heard about that when they signed me, and it feels great to be wanted like that,” Orozco said in reference to the deal for the top allocation spot. “I have had a great time since they signed me. I have great teammates. I like it a lot here. I like being in the middle of a club with so much talent. I hope to be here for a long time. The coaches have shown a lot of trust in me, and I appreciate that very much.”

At the end of January, Philadelphia Union bolstered their roster with the addition of Orozco, a U-23 U.S. National Team defender, who is on loan from Mexican First Division team San Luis FC, where he spent the last three years playing.

“I knew coming to Philadelphia was a possibility,” Orozco said. “I signed for a year, and I hope it goes longer because I like what the club has done. I like everything about it. They are a great organization. I’m taking it step by step and day by day. We have only played three games and we have so much work to do. I think we can be a very good team. I am happy to be contributing.”

Signed by San Luis in 2006, Orozco found a spot in the club’s starting lineup during the 2007 season and made 16 appearances on the team’s run to the quarterfinals of the Clausura Tournament. Last season, Orozco started in 28 games and scored four goals, including one in the prestigious Copa Libertadores. 

“The league I was playing in was a little different than MLS,” Orozco said. “I very much enjoy this league and playing with my new teammates. It was a good move for me to sign here. It’s a situation I am very happy with.”

Orozco helped the U.S. U-23 team qualify for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, a team that also included current Philadelphia Union goalkeeper Chris Seitz. A member of the U.S. National Team player pool since 2004, Orozco was named one of the Best XI during the 2008 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying round.

Then just two days after joining Philadelphia Union, Orozco was named by U.S. Men’s National Team Head Coach Bob Bradley as one of 23 players to join the USMNT training camp roster. 

“It was really exciting for me,” Orozco said. “I was only here for a couple of days and I got an opportunity with the National Team. In a World Cup year, it was really an honor.”

The squad gathered on Feb. 10 at U.S. Soccer's National Training Center at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. 

Orozco’s call-up marked the first time a Philadelphia Union player joined the U.S. Men’s National Team. The defender had made one previous appearance for Bradley's side.

The U.S. Men's National Team has been drawn into Group C with England, Slovenia and Algeria for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. The U.S. will open its sixth consecutive World Cup finals tournament against England on June 12 in Rustenburg, and will follow that game with matches against Slovenia on June 18 in Johannesburg and Algeria on June 23 in Tshwane/Pretoria.

But there are MLS games to be won in the meantime. And that’s why Orozco is with Philadelphia Union.

“We have good team bonding,” Orozco said. “We have to play a lot of road games (early in the season), and I think that helps to build team chemistry. I think the coaches have done a great job keeping the club on a steady pace. We have the talent here on an expansion club to win a lot of games. I’m excited about where we are and where we can go this season.”