In the waning minutes of last Saturday's match, Ike Opara had to make a choice as Jimmy Medranda's pass came hurtling across the Columbus Crew box. Try to head over Crew keeper Steve Clark was a possibility but Ike had already missed from much better angles.
Opara could hear Dom Dwyer screaming for the ball as he crashed near post, "I had a feeling someone was going back post so I chose that route instead of finding Dom, who was screaming my name."
Ike heads the ball over Clark and finds Matt Besler at the back post, the same Matt Besler that had not scored for Sporting Kansas City since 2011. The same Matt Besler who is usually organizing the defense to prevent counters but had been given the go ahead before subbing on to go forward.
When Opara has been healthy, he has been a goal scoring threat on set pieces but that part of his game had been lacking this year, coming back from another season ending injury. Prior to the match versus Columbus, Ike only had a handful of shots and only one of those were on goal.
Not only did Opara feel he wasn't getting into the offense enough but the rest of the team wanted him more involved as well. When we say the rest of the team, that includes players, coaches and above.
"I was challenged by a couple team mates and coaches and owners heading into this week about not getting a goal so far this year," Opara explained. "In the last few games trying to be aggressive enough to get a chance on those, it was a challenge for me to try to get on the end of something."
Yes, even one of the owners, Greg Maday had let Ike know he needed to get on the scoreboard. "I told Maday I owed him a goal after Colorado when I thought I got a harsh red card and he reminded me of it before the game today. He said I am halfway there now," Opara laughed.
What else did Ike remember about that play besides Dom yelling for the ball? "Jimmy put in a really good ball in and I just had to do the rest and you could tell the fans wanted it, I think that is the loudest I have heard them in while."
Interesting note: Besler's goal was the first in Sporting KC regular season history that was scored by a defender and assisted by two defenders.