Recently, there has been a lot of intense discussion surrounding Macoumba Kandji and his sudden trade to Houston Dynamo. Once again, the Rapids organization has been questioned, and talks about loyalty from the front office have been criticized. Fans have a right to be upset, but one must objectively consider the fact that with a new coaching staff, there will most likely be wholesale changes within a team.
Kandji became the second Colorado Rapids striker to leave within the past week. Colorado recently released Irish striker Caleb Folan after an unsuccessful transfer to Panionios GSS of the Greek Super League. The Rapids traded Kandji to Houston in exchange for a 2014 conditional draft pick. While Kandji will definitely be missed, he was quite possibly surplus to requirements at Dick's Sporting Goods Park for the 2012 MLS campaign.
Macoumba Kandji was born in Senegal and raised in The Gambia. He first came to the United States in 2003. He made his professional debut in the second division with the Atlanta Silverbacks. In 2008, he secured a loan to the New York Red Bulls. The club then signed the tall forward and he went on to score 5 goals in 36 games from 2009-2010.
Kandji was then traded to Colorado during the 2010 campaign in exchange for Mehdi Ballouchy. He served the role as a super-sub due to Conor Casey and Omar Cummings combining as one of the best forward tandems in MLS. During a playoff match in Columbus, Kandji scored during the penalty session to help send the Rapids to the Conference Final against San Jose Earthquakes. In the MLS Cup Final, Kandji set up the game-winning own goal against FC Dallas that saw Colorado win their first MLS Cup. However, Kandji tore his ACL on the play and spent months on the sidelines.
Fast-forward to 2011 and the CONCACAF Champions League. During the Rapids opening home fixture against Metapán, Kandji scored two goals in his first match since the MLS Cup Final. However, his play down the stretch showed a steep drop in form. The forward played in 9 league matches and 3 playoff matches but failed to score any goals or notch any assists.
2012 has seen many changes for the Rapids organization, most notably a new coaching staff. Head coach Oscar Pareja has made it clear that he wants to implement a 4-3-3 tactical formation. Quincy Amarikwa has impressed so far during preseason and there is evidence to suggest that he would have been higher than Kandji in the pecking order. Conor Casey is a few months out from full fitness and the Rapids have reportedly agreed on a deal with a new forward from Argentina. Given the fact that Colombian attacking midfielder Jaime Castrillon was also signed, Kandji possibly would have been on the outside looking in.
Hours before the trade, there was talk that Kandji was exploring possibilities in Scandinavia. The transfer window in Norway and Sweden goes until the end of February, and Kandji was reportedly keeping his options open. However, he is now a member of the Dynamo and will definitely be missed in a Rapids uniform, but no one should truly lament the loss of a forward who failed to score any league goals for Colorado from 2010-2011.