Lasting Image: Kofi Opare's touching tribute to his fallen friend

CARSON, Calif. -- Sometimes sports takes a back seat to real life and on Wednesday, Kofi Opare paid tribute to his fallen friend Arif Merani after scoring his first career MLS goal in the LA Galaxy's 1-0 victory over the Montreal Impact.

After scoring in the 68th minute, Opare lifted his shirt to reveal a "R.I.P. Arif" message to honor Merani, who died on Monday after being struck by a car while attempting to change a flat tire as drove back to Carleton University after spending the Canadian Thanksgiving Holiday with family in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Merani and Opare both attended Saint Paul Catholic High School and were neighbors.

Once Opare learned about Merani's death, he knew what he was going to honor his friend: score a goal.  

“I said I was going to honor him by scoring. I said I was going to score and dedicate it to him,” said Opare of his high school friend from Niagara Falls, Ontario. “I told people I was going to score my first goal for him. I'm glad that all went to plan, I guess, and we got the three points.”

A snap shot courtesy of LA Galaxy photographer Robert Mora is below.