Minnesota United today announced it has acquired defender Ike Opara via trade with Sporting Kansas City. MNUFC traded away $900,000 in Targeted Allocation Money and up to $100,000 in future TAM considerations.
“We’ve been laser-focused on adding starters in key positions of need this offseason and we feel that Ike [Opara] 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 the Loons after six seasons with Sporting Kansas City. The defender joined Kansas City in 2013. Throughout his six seasons with Kansas City, Opara started 100 games, logging 9,098 minutes, with five assists and 12 goals. During the 2017 season, Opara was named to MLS Best XI, and was awarded the 2017 Defender of the Year. He made 30 starts while anchoring a defense that conceded just 29 goals during the 2017 regular season, eight fewer than any other team. In 2018, he followed up with another successful campaign, making 31 starts, playing 2,773 minutes, contributing to 11 shutouts with three goals and two assists.
“Going into this offseason we had targeted positions we felt were important to our success moving forward and this is another huge step to us achieving our goals,” said MNUFC Head Coach Adrian Heath. “We’ve just added a player who has challenged for U.S. Open Cup, Supporters Shield and MLS Cup virtually every year, he won’t accept anything other than winning. When you added him to the likes of Ozzie Alonso, Jan Gregus, Romain Metanire, and the core group of players returning this year, we’ve set ourselves up to be successful going in to Allianz Field.”
Prior to joining Sporting Kansas City, the defender began his professional career with the San Jose Earthquakes when he was drafted 3rd overall in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft as a Generation adidas signing. During his three seasons with the Quakes, Opara played in 35 games, notching 2,162 minutes with five assists and three goals.
On the international side, Opara represented the United States at the 2009 FIFA U20 World Cup and at the U-3 level during the 2012 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament. He then made his senior international debut in January 2018, anchoring the U.S. backline in a shutout effort against Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Opara is the fourth player MNUFC has added this offseason, alongside Designated Player Jan Gregus, MLS Cup winner Ozzie Alonso and defender Romain Metanire.
If you’re ready to stand and cheer, the best way to make sure you’ll be in Allianz Field in 2019 is to become a season ticket member with supporters season tickets. Fans can also join The Preserve, the official Allianz Field waiting list and enjoy benefits now. For more information, visit mnufc.com.
Transaction: Minnesota trade $900,000 in Targeted Allocation Money and up to $100,000 in future TAM considerations to Sporting Kansas City; Sporting Kansas City trade Ike Opara.
Ike Opara (oh-PAR-ah)
Date of birth: 02.21.1989
Last club: Sporting KC
Hometown: Durham, NC
Place of birth: Durham, NC
Previous experience: Sporting KC (2013-2018), San Jose Earthquakes (2010-2012), Cary Clarets (2008-2009)