Minnesota United have announced a blockbuster trade for one of Major League Soccer's best defenders ahead of the new season.
The Loons will have Ike Opara lining up for them at Allianz Field, after they agreed to a trade on Monday with Sporting Kansas City.
United have traded $900,000 in Targeted Allocation Money and up to $100,000 in future TAM considerations for Opara, who was named MLS Defender of the Year in 2017.
That year, he anchored a defense that conceded just 29 goals, following it up with another stunning season in 2018 in which he scored 3 goals, made 3 assists and kept 11 shutouts.
"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 on the MNUFC website.
"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."
United desperately need the help in defense. Last season, they shipped 71 goals, which was the joint second worst record in all of MLS.
He's MNUFC's fourth addition in the offseason, with the others being Designated Player Jan Gregus – a midfielder – defender Romain Metanire, and Cuban midfielder Ozzie Alonso.
Of Opara, Head Coach Adrian Heath said: "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."
United open their 2019 MLS season on Mar. 2 in Vancouver, playing five consecutive away games before debuting at the new (and gorgeous) Allianz Field on Apr. 13.
The fans seem pretty happy with the deal, judging by the social media reaction.