After weeks of speculation, Sporting Kansas City finally has an Ike Opara answer. The club announced late Monday night it had traded the veteran defender to Minnesota United FC for $900,000 in Targeted Allocation Money and a potential $100,000 in future TAM.
Opara had asked SKC manager Peter Vermes for a trade weeks ago. At the time, Vermes said Opara wanted to “make more money” and that the club would listen to reasonable offers for the defender.
Opara has been with SKC since the 2013 season, and has started 120 of 136 possible appearances during that span. He scored 15 goals for the club, added six assists, and took home the MLS Defender of the Year award in 2017.
In the alphabet soup that is MLS allocation money, TAM are “funds strategically provided by the league to teams to add or retain players that will make an immediate impact on the field,” according to the league. The TAM that Kansas City receives for Opara can be used to reduce a player’s potential hit on the salary cap (if they make above the Designated Player threshold), or by converting a DP into a regular roster spot.
Opara has long been seen as an anchor of the Kansas City defense, which has been near the top of most league defensive categories during Opara’s stint with the club. The defender is in his 10th MLS season and has 157 matches under his belt.
Even before Monday’s announcement, Kansas City had made a couple moves that will work to fill the hole left by Opara in the club’s back line. It added Hungarian defender Botond Bararth in the offseason, as well as Costa Rican defender/midfielder Rodney Wallace.