Sporting KC acquire Opara in deal with Earthquakes

Photo by ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

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.

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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.

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40 Responses to Sporting KC acquire Opara in deal with Earthquakes

  1. Petaluman says:

    He’ll have some excellent defenders to learn from. KC is stocking up for a run in CCL.

    • Josh D says:

      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 :(

  2. ed - houston says:

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

  3. ex_sweeper says:

    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 says:

      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.

  4. Michael F. SBI Mafia Original says:

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

  5. atd says:

    Daaamnn. Next up, a bit of midfield depth and and maybe an experienced #9.

  6. Hogatroge says:

    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 says:

      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 says:

        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.

  7. Hogatroge says:

    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.

  8. jim bucher says:

    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 says:

      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 says:

      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

  9. Swaggin Wagon says:

    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. says:

      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 says:

        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.

  10. 2tone says:

    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 says:

      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.

  11. wilyboy says:

    NE, Earthquakes: Are you TRYING to make them unstoppable? Really, are you?

  12. Bob says:

    Now watch KC throw down and try to get Herc and/or Boyd to fill their forward spot LOL!

    • Mike in Missouri says:

      didn’t hear about us negotiating for Falcoa?

      • beto says:

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

        • BigBirdLenny says:

          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.

  13. QuakerOtis says:

    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.

  14. limey says:

    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!

  15. Blake says:

    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.

  16. 2foottackle says:

    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??

  17. Shake says:

    And they still wont make it past the first round of the playoffs next year

  18. Eugene says:

    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.

  19. Rudi says:

    Love the photo they used! Hey Ike- do your best Sammy Davis, Jr. impression!

  20. caramelcheese says:

    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.

  21. Mike says:

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