Ike Opara is set to head north to solidify the weak defensive line of Minnesota United.
The American played with Sporting Kansas City for nearly seven years and was a regular in the lineup. Minnesota United are to give Kansas City $900,000 of Targeted Allocation Money and $100,000 of “future TAM considerations,” according to the release. The money comes from the trade of Christian Ramirez last season.
The deal comes after interest from first year club FC Cincinnati, which may have been the reason for the admittedly high price tag. The centerback comes with loads of MLS experience and undoubtedly is one of the better proven MLS center backs. Opara can bring the experience Minnesota United needs in the back line, as well as a threat on set pieces. “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 manager Adrian Heath.
Ike Opara should be able to slide right into the lineup for Allianz Field. A pairing with Michael Boxall in the middle, suddenly the defence looks quite solid — with Ozzie Alonso as the #6, Opara and Boxall as center backs, and Calvo and Metanire at the outside backs.
A concern for the Minnesota United faithful should be injuries. Opara spent significant time in recovery in 2015 for a ruptured Achilles Tendon, and more recently in 2018 he suffered a minor hamstring injury. At 29 years old he has several good years to offer the Loons and hopefully his body can hold strong. “He provides a wealth of MLS experience — he is coming off of two great years,” said Sporting Director Manny Lagos. “We are thrilled to add his quality and leadership to our roster.”
Ike Opara has endured a lot in his career; injuries plagued his early years of playing, but he persevered through and has earned several national team caps.
The Loons offseason is nearly over, as the first preseason match comes on Tuesday against FC Tucson.