Sporting KC: Ike Opara Diagnosed With Ruptured Achilles


Sporting KC announced on Monday that defender Ike Opara suffered a ruptured Achilles injury in his left ankle late in the second half of Sporting’s 0-0 draw against Real Salt Lake on Saturday.

According to Sam McDowell Opara is expected to be out 4-6 months trying to recover from the injury.

Opara is Sporting KC’s leading scorer this season with two goals in six games. The 26-year-old defender has also been a rock in the Sporting KC defense. He has been named to three of the four MLS Team of the Week’s so far this season.

More from KC Kingdom

Sporting KC has earned three shutouts in the last four games, including holding Real Salt Lake without a shot on goal on Saturday.

During the 2014 season Opara suffered a season ending injury to his right ankle, and rehabbed the majority of last season and this offseason to return in 2014. Opara now has suffered a season ending injury the last two years on opposite ankles.

Opara has been as big of a threat in the offensive as he has in the defense. He has set up several players including feeding a nice through ball to Jalil Anibaba for Sporting KC’s best opportunity to score against Real Salt Lake. Opara is also Sporting’s biggest threat on set pieces, and at 6’2″ tall he is the second tallest player on Sporting’s roster behind rookie Saad Abdul-Salaam who is 6’4″ tall.

Sporting KC traded Aurelien Collin to Orlando City SC in the offseason, and made the commitment to Opara as the starting centerback next to captain Matt Besler. Sporting has options to replace Opara, but there is nobody that will be able to replace everything that Opara contributes.

Kevin Ellis was the player that replaced Opara when he was taken out of the game on Saturday, and there is a good chance that he sees significant minutes in the absence of Opara.

Jalil Anibaba has been the teams right back, but he can also play centerback. Anibaba is the closest to being able to replicate what Opara contributed on offense as he has been dangerous on set pieces and going forward scoring one goal this season. He is also six-foot tall which gives Sporting height in the back.

More from Sporting Kansas City

17-year-old Erik Palmer-Brown is also a possibility to replace Opara. Palmer-Brown doesn’t have the experience of the Ellis or Anibaba, but he has the most potential of the three. At 6’1″ tall Palmer-Brown is the closest player to Opara both physically and all around skill set wise.

It is still a mystery how Sporting KC will move forward with another season without Opara, but Sporting pride themselves on overall depth so chances are they have a plan in place.

Another disappointing end to a season that Opara proved to be one of if not the best centerback in the league.

Next: Sporting KC Play Out Draw Against Real Salt Lake