Sporting KC's Ike Opara named MLS Defender of the Year
MLS named Sporting Kansas City center-back Ike Opara the Defender of the Year on Thursday.
Opara made 30 league appearances this season, while Sporting KC only managed to earn a single point in the four games that he was out of the lineup. With him, they won 12, drew 12 and lost six.
The 28-year-old also scored three league goals, tied for second among defenders, and added another two in the U.S. Open Cup as Sporting KC won the trophy.
Honored. Grateful. Humbled. Thankful. Thanks to many for your support over the years. I have nothing but love for you all. Congrats to the other nominees as well... @justmorrow we've come a long way since those Mariani days in SJ 🤙🏿— Ike Opara (@ikeopara) November 9, 2017
Sporting KC has qualified for the playoffs every year since they acquired Opara from the San Jose Earthquakes in 2013.
Opara received 28.5 average percent of the vote, easily outpacing fellow finalists Justin Morrow of Toronto FC and Kendall Waston of Vancouver.
He won the player and media votes handily, but finished third behind Atlanta's Leandro Gonzalez Pirez and Waston in the clubs' technical staff vote.
Opara is the fourth Kansas City player to win the award, following his current coach Peter Vermes in 2000, Jimmy Conrad in 2005 and Matt Besler is 2012.
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