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Opara and Melia Sign New Deals and Ellis is on the Way Out

Two expire contracts have been extended and one not expiring contract is being shopped around. Plus an EPB nugget.

MLS: Seattle Sounders FC at Sporting KC Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Sporting Kansas City were entering 2018 with a lot of expiring contracts. Two of those contracts have now been officially extended out for at least a couple of years. Initially Ives Galarcep reported the extension for Ike Opara but now Sam McDowell of the Kansas City Star has confirmed some of the details for Opara and added that Tim Melia has a new contract as well.

Both players deals were set to expire at the end of 2018 (though Opara had an option for 2019). Now Opara is signed through 2019 with a club option for 2020 and Melia is signed through 2020 with a club option for 2021.

These deals seem like no-brainers since Melia won MLS Goalkeeper of the Year for 2017 and Opara won MLS Defensive Player of the Year as well.

Opara is currently 28 years old (29 in February) but he has low mileage on his body due to missing lots of time with injuries earlier in his career. If he stays healthy, he could be under contract all the way through until he’s almost 32.

Melia is already 31-years-old, but goalkeepers tend to age better. Not to mention he only became a regular starter in 2015 despite being in the league since 2010 (previously with Real Salt Lake and Chivas USA). Fun fact: Melia had never won a MLS game before joining Sporting KC (at least according to

In other Sporting KC news, McDowell is also reporting that Kevin Ellis is “unlikely” to remain with SKC but that “nothing is imminent.” This hardly comes as a surprise after the team and the player mutually agreed to a leave of absence late last season.

SKC apparently has received “calls” from around the league and the team is said to be “considering those offers, but nothing is imminent.”

This further cements SKC’s need to add more center back depth as the team only has Matt Besler, Ike Opara and Amer Didic (who has yet to appear in a regular season game). James Musa is listed as a midfielder but is capable of playing center back, but that’s still shockingly low depth if an injury or international absence were to occur.

Of course Erik Palmer-Brown is set to leave MLS for Manchester City in the Premier League (or realistically go out on loan with PSV being a possible destination). However, some are saying based on FIFA rules he cannot play on a third team. Here is the rule in question:

3. Players may be registered with a maximum of three clubs during one season. During this period, the player is only eligible to play official matches for two clubs. As an exception to this rule, a player moving between two clubs belonging to associations with overlapping seasons (i.e. start of the season in summer/autumn as opposed to winter/spring) may be eligible to play in official matches for a third club during the relevant season, provided he has fully complied with his contractual obligations towards his previous clubs. Equally, the provisions relating to the registration periods (article 6) as well as to the minimum length of a contract (article 18 paragraph 2) must be respected.

I keep reading it and thinking due to the different schedules an exception can be made but here we are on the 12th of January and nothing has been announced. Some are speculating Man City won’t announce anything until their loan agreement is in place so he can immediately transition from their roster to whoever they loan him to. I imagine this is nothing but if he somehow can’t, it’d be pretty awesome if he was somehow loaned back to SKC or the Swope Park Rangers. Don’t get your hopes up though, as that’s not happening.

We’ll have more on the roster movement, and likely roster growth, as it develops.