Minnesota United has used its one allowed guaranteed contract buyout on veteran Ike Opara, a two-time MLS Defender of the Year who hasn't played a game in 18 months.

The club announced the buyout, which was reached previously, on Thursday before the league's current transfer window closed by an 11 p.m. deadline Central time. The Loons also were working to sign 20-year-old Honduran midfielder Joseph Rosales, a source with knowledge of the negotiations said.

Opara, 32, hasn't played an MLS game since the Loons' second game in their pandemic-interrupted 2020 season.

He signed a two-year contract that included a $685,333 total compensation salary this season after he was named MLS Defender of the Year and led the Loons to the playoffs for the first time in 2019. He won the same award for Sporting Kansas City in 2017.

Neither Opara nor the club ever named the injury or condition concerning a player who has a history of concussions.

Opara will not occupy a roster spot, but his contract remains active until it expires after this season in December. The team already has used his senior roster slot and salary budget charge for other personnel moves.

Minnesota United chief soccer officer Manny Lagos in a team statement called it a "frustrating and disappointing period for all involved."

He also said "despite concerted and ongoing efforts to resolve health concerns, we were not able to return Ike to match fitness on our timeline."

Lagos also called Opara "everything we wanted" after the club acquired him in January 2019 from Sporting KC.

"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," Lagos said.

Loons coach Adrian Heath on Tuesday referred a question about Opara's future to a team representative.

Minnesota United executives and Opara discussed a contract buyout before this season started in April but didn't reach an agreement.

Opara's arrival in 2019 was one in a series of moves intended to improve the Loons defensively up their "spine" from goalkeeper through the defensive backline and defensive midfield and beyond.

It worked. The Loons went from 11-20-3 the season before to 15-11-8 and made the playoffs. They lost a first-round home game to LA Galaxy in their first season at Allianz Field,

Opara signed a new contract at the end of that season that more than doubled the previous one he signed with Sporting KC. He played only two more games with the Loons on a two-game West Coast trip that opened the 2020 season.

He scored twice in his final game, in a 5-2 victory at San Jose.