This has been a strange week as there are a good six weeks remaining in the MLS regular season. The playoff race has been tightening up and at the moment the Western Conference teams will have the majority before the final weekend of October comes around since it looks like both Columbus and New York will have the top two spots in the East. That’s when trades are made from within the league as those destined for the playoffs need that one last piece to solve that puzzle.
Needing some midfield help and to orchestrate from within the middle of the park, the Red Bulls went out and got Moroccan International midfielder Mehdi Ballouchy from the Colorado Rapids and traded Forward Macoumba Kandji. “We’ve seen him about two to three months ago on the road at Colorado and at home in the US Open Cup” said Head Coach Hans Backe. “When they subbed him in the second half of the Open Cup match he automatically changed the game. When we played away at Colorado he could play centrally and out wide. His movements are very good.”
For Ballouchy it wasn’t that hard for him to report to Red Bulls training as he was spending a couple of days with family and heading out to Flushing Meadows Park for the US Open when he received the call from his former head coach Gary Smith. “I heard New York was interested a while ago.” said Ballouchy. “When I got the phone call I knew right away I was traded. I am excited and nervous going to a different team right away, but I am really excited coming to this team with these types of players.”
But as you all know in professional sports when trades are made, you have to give up something to get something and that player heading to Colorado was Macoumba Kandji.”He is a talented player” said Backe. “We hope this move will give him more time as a striker, because it’s how to build a team and be the strongest team in New York.” The first time I saw Kandji play in any US League was for the Atlanta Silverbacks then of USL-1st Division during the 2008 season when Fox Soccer Channel had the Friday night USL match of the week. Kandji blazed a trail of field turf pellets attacking the oppositions net. I hoped then he was going to be a great strike partner for Juan Pablo Angel. He is a good person and I hope he will have some success in the Denver area.