Sporting Kansas City and Minnesota United FC announced the trade of Ike Opara for allocation money. The Loons acquire Opara and send $900,000 in Targeted Allocation Money. There is a potential $100,000 more in future Targeted Allocation Money if certain incentives are met.
Opara has been the regular starter next to Sporting KC captain Matt Besler the last few years but he had to face several setbacks initially. Various injuries made it questionable if he would be able to return to play at a high level but Opara overcame those adversities to become the 2017 MLS Defender of the Year.
In another example of SKC manager Peter Vermes buying low and selling high, Opara was acquired for a 2nd round draft pick. San Jose selected Dan Delgado who never played a game in MLS with that pick.
It may have been inevitable the trade would take place. Opara had asked Vermes for an increase in pay or to consider a trade to another team. With two games in preseason in the books, Opara had not played in either match with a reported knock but had been training.
With the trade, Sporting KC now has four center backs under contract. SKC Captain Matt Besler, Spaniard Andreu Fontas, Hungarian Botond Barath and Graham Smith.
When SKC signed Fontas last year, his salary was reported to be close to a million himself and when Barath was signed that may have given Vermes the room to make the trade and still have the depth he needs.
Jeff Carlisle is reporting that if Minnesota makes the playoffs the extra $100,000 will be kicked in at that point.
A trade between FC Cincinnati and Toronto FC may have helped drive up the price for Opara. Toronto sent defender Nick Hagglund and the No. 24 Allocation Ranking to FC Cincinnati in exchange for $200,000 in General Allocation Money, $100,000 in Targeted Allocation Money and the No. 1 Allocation Ranking. It was a trade that most observers thought was very lopsided and set a high bar for center backs in this window.