Kandji out at least 2 months; who gets a chance to step in?

Posted on 21 April 2010 by ASN Staff

The New York Red Bulls announced today, April 21, that midfielder/forward Macoumba Kandji would undergo foot surgery and miss 8-12 weeks. Kandji broke the fifth metatarsal in his right foot in training April 20 and was due for surgery at New York’s Hospital for Special Surgery.

The injury is a blow to the team, as Kandji started all four regular season games this season. He scored the winning goal against Seattle on March 27 in the Red Bulls’ first away win in nearly two years. Otherwise, his performances were mixed. His player ratings were 4.5 for the season opener against the Chicago Fire, 8 for the aforementioned Seattle match, 6 for the loss at Chivas on April 10 and 5.5 for Saturday’s victory over FC Dallas. This works out to an average rating of exactly 6. (Of course the ratings are entirely subjective so take them with a grain of salt if you don’t already. But for what it’s worth, his Metrofanatic.com rating, which is voted on by fans, is 5.6).

The question becomes who should step in to fill the 6’4-sized void left by Mac, who has started at both forward and left midfield this year? Have your say in the poll below. Then read our take below that.

[polldaddy poll=3089745]

ASN’s take:
With the arrival of Salou Ibrahim, Kandji’s days at forward were numbered anyway. While Ibrahim has not impressed in his limited time on the pitch so far, Hans Backe has given every indication he will let the Ghanaian play his way into shape as a starter alongside Juan Pablo Angel.

That leaves left midfield, where Kandji was effectively keeping the spot warm for Brian Nielsen, who is reportedly ready to go against Philadelphia this weekend. If Nielsen isn’t ready, expect Sinisa Ubiparipovic, who has also started at left mid, to get the call against Philadelphia.

So from the looks of it, Kandji was about to be moved to the bench anyway. His presence there will surely be missed, as he can create matchup problems and provide spark as a late game substitute. But with the acquisition of Ibrahim, and the impending arrival of Nielsen, it does not really mean New York is losing a starter.

Who will take Kandji’s role on the bench then? Conor Chinn is the obvious candidate and not just because he’s of a similar stature. But Chinn has dressed for all but the very first game of the season and we expect him to continue to do so in light of today’s news. Kandji’s injury may have bought some time for John Wolyniec. Danleigh Borman will also see increased time and a regular spot in the travel squad if he doesn’t have one already. A player we’d love to see is Austin da Luz, who appears buried on the depth charts. But he should move up with Kandji out. Whether he gets a chance in a game is another matter entirely.

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