Minnesota United pulls trigger, paying Sporting KC upwards of $1 million in TAM for Ike Opara

Ike Opara

, the 2017 MLS Defender of the Year, has been traded after six seasons in Sporting KC.

After three seasons in San Jose, Opara was traded to Sporting KC, which he helped win the 2013 MLS Cup and U.S. Open Cup titles in 2015 and 2017.

Opara, 29, will boost Minnesota United's notoriously porous backline. The Loons conceded 71 goals in 34 games in 2018, tying them for the second-worst defense in the league.

“We’ve been laser-focused on adding starters in key positions of need this offseason and we feel that Ike is an excellent addition to a really good core group of defenders already on our roster,” said MNUFC sporting director Manny Lagos. “He provides a wealth of MLS experience -- he is coming off of two great years. We are thrilled to add his quality and leadership to our roster.”

Opara joins defender Romain Metanire and defensive midfielders Ozzie Alonso and Jan Gregus as offseason acquisitions whom the Loons believe will provide some stability.

“Going into this offseason," added head coach Adrian Heath, "we had targeted positions we felt were important to our success moving forward and this is another huge step to us achieving our goals."

Minnesota United
2019 Roster (21 players):

Goalkeeper (2): Bobby Shuttleworth, Dayne St. Clair (Univ. of Maryland).
Defenders (7): Michael Boxall, Francisco Calvo, Brent Kallman, Carter Manley, Romain Metanire (Reims/FRA), Wyatt Omsberg, Ike Opara (Sporting KC).
Midfielders (8): Osvaldo Alonso (Seattle), Ethan Finlay, Jan Gregus (FC Copenhagen/DEN), Miguel Ibarra, Romario Ibarra, Collin Martin, Kevin Molino, Rasmus Schuller.
Forwards (4):Abu Danladi, Darwin Quintero, Mason Toye, Angelo Rodriguez.

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Photo: Columbus Crew SC.

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