MLS- Sporting Kansas City

Sporting KC acquire Opara in deal with Earthquakes

Photo by ISIphotos.com


We are only a few weeks into the offseason, and Sporting Kansas City are already beginning to look like one of the MLS Cup favorites.

On the same day that the club re-signed Defender of the Year Matt Besler, Sporting KC announced that they acquired centerback Ike Opara from the San Jose Earthquakes in exchange for their natural second round pick in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft.

“Ike is a player we had very high on our draft board three years ago. If we had the top two picks, we would have selected both him and Teal (Bunbury),” Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes said in a statement released by the club. “He possesses all of the qualities and characteristics of becoming a top-level central defender in MLS. We are excited about all of his potential and look forward to working with him in the preseason.”

Opara joins a Sporting KC team that already has Besler and Aurelien Collin as its starting centerbacks. But with the club scheduled to play in a number of competitions in 2013, including the CONCACAF Champions League, there should be ample opportunity for the 23-year-old to see time.

Opara was drafted by the Earthquakes with the third overall pick in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft. In his three seasons in San Jose, Opara played in 35 league games (22 of which he started) and scored three goals.


What do you think of Sporting KC landing Opara? How do you think he will fare there? Do you consider Sporting KC to be among the favorites for MLS Cup in 2013?

Share your thoughts below.

    • Josh D

      My thoughts exactly. One of the most balanced and depth filled teams since RSL’s attempt. They’ll be dangerous next year.

      From an MLS stand point, they’re a striker shy of being a CL favorite.

      As a DC fan I just say damn 😦


      • aletheist

        Nothing official yet, but all signs are pointing to Claudio Bieler being announced as SKC’s new striker next week.


  • ed - houston

    daaaaaaamn, slow down KC. you are making the rest of the teams look bad, lol. now, how about a sponsor ??


      • Mysterious J

        No kit sponsor…and a scandal plagued charity’s name on the stadium!


      • evan

        sorry, but signing Ike Opara has nothing to do with “beginning to look like MLS Cup favorites”. he is not good…


      • Jake

        He’s not good. Neither is the current SKC team nor is Benny Feilhaber.
        My home team is in the Eastern Conference and I’m damn scared of SKC. More than last year.


  • ex_sweeper

    It’s a damn shame that Opara lost two years with foot injuries. If he had played those games, I really think he would have become an excellent defender. But as it is, he didn’t improve enough to justify his Generation Adidas salary.

    I hope John Doyle has several experienced central defenders lined up. Bernardez and Hernandez are solid CBs, but if one of them is injured or suspended, Quakes have no Plan B other than moving Justin Morrow to the center.


    • chris_thebassplayer

      I’m not overly excited about Hernandez as a starter. They definitely need to lock in Bernardez and then bring in another high quality CB. I wouldn’t be surprised if they drafted a CB and flank defender to groom for the future. I’m happy Opara moved to a quality side with a good coach.


  • Michael F. SBI Mafia Original

    He has all the potential in the world. Vermes wants the title he thinks should have been his this year.


  • Hogatroge

    This is just my ignorance, but how does SJ get anything for Opara? They waived him, so why does KC have to compensate SJ?

    Can someone please explain?


    • Doherty

      My best guess is that SJ removed him from the Re-Entry Draft eligible list in order to trade him. SKC didn’t want to let Opara into the Draft because they had the 14th pick, so they gave up the draft pick to SJ.

      It works out for both teams.


      • WK

        thats about it- except it was a second round pick (33rd overall i think).

        I so very much wanted Ike to be the next big thing, but his one-on-one defending and man-marking was just not good enough on a consistent basis. closing down a player at speed and making tackles was many times very good, but just because of how fast he was. he also would miss with those tackles and would just be on the wrong side of the forward on a regular basis.

        Quakes are gonna have sign a defender and draft a couple for depth now. whether or not Dawkins returns means we’re still on the hunt for at least one other attacking midfielder who can play centrally. Oh, and pay Wondo his money of course.


  • Hogatroge

    On another note, KC is building a pretty impressive team on paper with these moves. It’s a shame they’re an EC rival of my Dynamo, but I’ll sure be cheering for them in CCL play.


  • jim bucher

    Jeez, just how are any other Eastern conference teams planning to compete with KC? Not only did they retain the best defense in the league, they managed to upgrade it. I’m curious if any other MLS team has ever had so many current and former US national teamers in their lineup: Convey, Bunbury, Sapong, Zusi, Feilhaber, Besler, and potentially Opara and Meyers. Not to mention Kamara who’s a regular with Sierra Leone. It truly is amazing the talent KC has managed to amass in a league with such a tight salary cap.


    • DanO

      Revs a few years back had twellman, noonan, ralston, Dempsey, heaps, reis, and parkhurst. All but heaps and reis had a bunch of caps. Joseph was usmnt caliber too.


    • Mack

      and according to a report done i believe on this site or maybe another they had the 2nd lowest paid roster behind shield winners san jose


  • Swaggin Wagon

    Haha KC have fun with the “baby deer” everytime he steps onto the field it looks like he just learning to run again. Really awkward in all facets of the game, he is athletic tho. Never lived up to anything.


    • Benjamin C.

      Opara is only 23, which is very young for a central defender. I think it is an excellent decision to take a flyer on him; there is little to no risk, and the upside is tremendous.


      • David St. Hubbins

        the risk all comes down to how much money they throw at him. little money then yes its no risk but if they throw 200k at him then there is definitely quite a bit of risk.


  • 2tone

    Great acquisition. He is still young for a defender. Still has plenty of time to grow. Vermes is looking long term while other MLS teams look short term.


    • Mack

      thats exactly what i was thinking. LONG TERM. kansas city will probably lose besler, even though he just resigned, following next year. i think besler and zusi will both go to europe next winter on atleast loan deals to prepare for world cup 14. if they impress it may be hard to keep them.


      • beto

        i didn’t watch every SKC game so please explain why the need another #9 doesn’t Sapong and Bunbury play that role?


      • BigBirdLenny

        They need a pure goal scorer in a really bad way. However, I don’t know if they’ll find that in a #9. Seems like Sapong plays that role well and will only get better.


  • QuakerOtis

    Ask LA how effective Ike was in the second leg of this year’s Western Conference Final.

    Ike might be good in the future and I wish him well, but injuries and an overreliance on athleticism have hindered his development. He is not a third-year pro; poor awareness and positioning make him a big liability. Quakes fans started calling him the baby dear because of this… and because of his posture while running. It’s kinda weird. I won’t say good riddance, but I’m not worried about my team facing him.


  • limey

    Isn’t he the guy that all the San Jose fans blamed for that embarrassing performance against the Galaxy? Like anyone would WANT to go the Kansas City!


  • Blake

    There are reports out of Ecuador that Claudio Bieler is coming to SKC. There’s the striker plus Sapong and Bunbury when he gets back.


  • 2foottackle

    Unstoppable?? KC has lost their best player in Roger Espinoza. Added Benny and “his jets” which seemed to have burnt out along with a mistake prone Opara??


  • Eugene

    Vermes is doing a great job at SKC. What can I say. Picked up Feilhaber and Opara to an already strong team… that’s pretty savvy.


  • caramelcheese

    I think Opara can be a quality defender in the league if he can stay healthy and improve his man-to-man marking. The best things he has going for him are his age and athleticism.


  • Mike

    Quaker Otis has it exactly right. For all his physical gifts, Opara is awful. It’s addition by subtraction for the Quakes.


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