Sporting Kansas City announced that Ike Opara had suffered a season-ending ankle injury on April 11th 2014. On Saturday, almost a year to the day, Ike Opara pulled out of a routine header and crumpled to the Sporting Park pitch.
It was apparent quickly that the injury was something out of the norm and while most Sporting Kansas City fans were hopeful that reports that he had a calf injury where true that wasn’t the case. Sporting Kansas City today confirmed that Ike Opara suffered an Achilles tendon injury.
While we have no reports as to the severity of the Achilles injury at this time it is certain that Ike Opara will be out for many months. The only real question at this stage is if his return is likely to be late this season or something that will push Ike Opara out for the remainder of the season.
The news is a blow to Sporting, Ike Opara has played every minute of the season so far and has performed admirably. The defense as a whole has looked increasingly secure as Opara and Besler have rekindled the partnership that looked so impressive prior to Opara suffering a season ending ankle injury last April. Opara has also scored a couple of goals this year, has been recognized in the MLS Team of the week three times, and leads MLS in interceptions and aerial challenges won.
26-year-old Ike Opara has a history of major injuries. Opara played for the San Jose Earthquakes for three years prior to his 2013 move to Kansas City. In three years he managed 35 appearances including 22 starts. Foot injuries ended his participation in the 2010 and 2011 seasons and he had concussion problems in 2012.
Peter Vermes’ options for replacing him in the lineup include Kevin Ellis who frequently played the position last year when called upon, Jalil Anibaba who is currently playing as a wingback and 18 year old (next week) prospect Erik Palmer-Brown. With Seth Sinovic, and Chance Myers currently injured it is likely that Sporting will turn to Ellis to fill the spot at this time.
A stern test awaits. Sporting travel to the Stub Hub Center to play defending MLS Cup holders Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday; all indications are that 2014 MLS MVP (19 goals, 14 assists) winner Robbie Keane will be playing.