Not many were completely confident in Ike Opara after the defender came back from a long-term injury problem.
The fact that he would take a long time to build his fitness back to his pre-injury levels was seen as a major concern. However, the defender has been one of the best players in MLS so far and he has also secured two goals to his name as well. Those two goals have come in match-winning performances against New York Red Bulls and New York City FC. After having missed almost 12 months of action due to a broken ankle, it was expected thatOpara would take a long time.
The 26-year-old has admitted that even he was not expecting such a brilliant run of form upon immediately returning to the pitch from a long-term injury. He will have to remain grounded sinceOpara appears to be performing exceptionally well due to the boost from a return to the starting line-up after more than a year of watching from the sidelines. Traditionally, players coming back from a long-term injury problem tend to perform well over the first few matches due to the presence of adrenaline, which goes away after the initial rush.
“I couldn’t have dreamed of a start like that. I was just hoping to be a contributor, a solid guy back there and getting better each game. I didn’t expect to come out the way I have, by any means. But it’s a good thing. As I’m getting stronger and having this level of play, maybe there’s another level that I can reach. But most importantly, I’m happy with where I’m at – and I also have to keep an even keel mindset, because I don’t know if this is something that can happen for a full year, offensively,” saidOpara.