Team of the Week: Opara and Medranda help Sporting suffocate LA

Sporting Kansas City had a few reasons to be concerned heading into Thursday night.

The team was without its two center backs who had started for most of 2016 — Matt Besler and Nuno Coelho — and MLS scoring leaders LA Galaxy had bagged 18 goals in six previous home games at StubHub Center this season. But by the end of Thursday's 0-0 draw, Sporting Kansas City had limited LA Galaxy to a single shot all game, tied for the fewest by one team in MLS regular season history

The suffocating defensive effort was spearheaded by center back Ike Opara, who reminded spectators just how good he can be when fully fit. Meanwhile, left back Jimmy Medranda contributed to the shutout while also being the game's most dangerous attacker in the final third. Both players landed MLSsoccer.com Team of the Week honors on Friday as Sporting Kansas City earned its first shutout in 11 games.

Opara had a team-high six clearances, added three recoveries and even saved room for an eye-opening move on the ball to beat two LA players (see below). Medranda stuffed the stat sheet with eight interceptions (a game-high), seven recoveries, four shots and two attempts on goal.

“Defensively, I would say for sure it was the best performance of the season," Opara said postgame. "It was almost the complete game minus the goals. We had some pretty good chances, we just didn't put one in the back of the net. I think if we had, we could have argued that it would have been our best [game], so moving forward I think if we can just build on this it will be big for us.”

Sporting Kansas City now enters a two-week break as the Copa America Centenario takes center stage. The club will return to action June 15 when it begins its U.S. Open Cup title defense at Minnesota United FC.

Team of the Week: Opara and Medranda help Sporting suffocate LA -