Minnesota United exercise buyout on Ike Opara

Minnesota United have used their one offseason buyout on defender Ike Opara, the club announced Thursday.

While Opara will no longer occupy a spot on the Loons' roster, his contract will remain active through the full term of the agreement, which is set to end in December this year.

“Despite concerted and ongoing efforts to resolve health concerns, we were not able to return Ike to match fitness on our timeline,” said Manny Lagos, MNUFC's chief soccer officer. “It has been a frustrating and disappointing period for all involved, made obvious by the fact that he was everything we wanted when he joined and played for the club. He was selected as Defender of the Year during our playoff run season, and had earned a new contract. We are grateful for all he did on behalf of MNUFC, and hope that time will allow him a return to the game at which he has so excelled.”

Opara joined Minnesota in a trade from Sporting Kansas City ahead of the 2019 season. He went on to be awarded Defender of the Year that season as Minnesota reached the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time.

However, Opara has not played for the club since March 7, 2020.