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Clarifying Kandji’s situation

MacKandji (

One of the stories lost in the midst of the New York Red Bulls improbable MLS Cup run is the circumstances surrounding Mac Kandji's future. As you learned earlier in the week, the Atlanta Silverbacks will not operate a team in 2009, a development that left Kandji's future up in the air since Atlanta still held Kandji's rights during his loan to the Red Bulls.

In a rather shrewd bit of business, Atlanta Silverbacks owner Boris Jerkunica has orchestrated the transfer of Kandji's rights from Atlanta to the USL Carolina Railhawks, which he also has an ownership stake in. The move means that if the Red Bulls exercise the option to buy Kandji's rights, the Railhawks would be paid. If the move had not been made, Kandji could have been in a position to become a free agent.

It remains to be seen whether the Red Bulls will actually exercise that option. Kanjdi has shown some good glimpses in limited playing time since joining the Red Bulls, but hasn't established himself as a starter and the club may decide that the price tag to buy him (believed to be about $150,000 spread out over two years) is too much.

What do you think of this news? Think the Red Bulls should keep Kandji? Still surprised that the Silverbacks are closing up shop?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Obviously, there could be all sorts of decisions made on expansion protection. But my best guess is that the team will likely protect:

    Cepero, Stammler, Van den Bergh, Ubiparipovic, Sassano, and Goldthwaite. Additionally, since the team has 10 international players on the roster, they can only expose 5 (and are required to protect 5). That might be Kandji’s saving grace. You figure that of the international players, Angel, Mbuta, Boyens, Kandji, Jimenez and Rojas–one of that bunch will be exposed. Additionally, it assumes you expose Parke, Mendes, Leitch and Conway (or expose someone like Sassano or Ubiparipovic). And I’m assuming that JCO has assumed that Pietrevallo and Cichero were mistakes and won’t protect them.

    Now you can argue that Boyens get exposed and Kandji and Mbuta protected. But look at what that leaves the team on the backline (already thin defensively) with what you’re protecting: Goldthwaite and maybe Jimenez. I don’t see it.

    Additionally, I have a hard time protecting guys who aren’t the 12th or 13th man at this point (and Kandji and Mbuta aren’t) and exposing starters who are young Americans and cheap (like Ubiparipovic). The team only loses one player in the expansion draft. But….you’ve got to figure that any team only a deep playoff run has had enough players impress that they’re not going to be one of the 2-3 teams that gets passed over by Seattle. And then we do it again in 2010. And 2011. So I think the ONLY way a young player (like Kandji) stays with their MLS team in the next 3 years is if they’re either a starter or no worse than the 12th man (and then maybe they get protected because one of the starters is retiring or going overseas).

  2. Joaim,

    It would seem to me that if the player isn’t worth a transfer fee, why would he be worth a senior slot?

    While currently on the Senior roster, it is doubtful he would be if 2 players hadn’t gotten suspended for idiocy.

    Kandji is the type of player who is marginal MLS talent, as such his chances are greater with the roster switch if a team decides to carry 19 or 20 senior slots, but if RBNY decides not to, he won’t be in MLS next year.

  3. Basically, based solely on his short time with RBNY, they should just forget about Mac and not spend that money on him. He doesn’t look like he can become a guaranteed starter and that 150k shouldn’t be used on a sub.

    Now…if JCO thinks he is worth the money, then I would definitely not be disappointed if they bought him.

  4. djhbv23, you’re… not too familiar with MLS, are you?

    John, why do you assume NY would leave him unprotected?

    And Dave Clark, the roster cut is only going to affect developmental players, which Kandji certainly is not. He’s solidly in the 18 man senior roster. And one of the motivations behind cutting the developmental roster is to be able to pay the senior players more (though, to be fair, it’s not exactly going to be a windfall).

  5. Well, I have to assume that Kandji is available in the expansion draft. You’d think that there would be a decent chance that Seattle would take him (fast, young, cheap and they’ll have a lot of allocation money). So the argument about buying him or not is probably academic.

  6. BIG MAC is the only one besides Dane Richards who gives any depth to the bulls. of course redbulls should keep him unless they sign me, CR7

  7. I’m wondering why we haven’t seen more of this guy or the other guy Mbuto. In the one game they played in they hooked up for a goal. We could use some offense tomorrow. That kick the ball up the field and defend a goal up plan is not gonna work against Colombus.

  8. If teams in this league can’t spend 150,000 for a player with this guy’s up-side, but will splurge on 30 year olds, then the end of MLS is near.

  9. The Red Bulls should keep him. I dont think he has an adequate chance to prove himself. I think he still has to get integrated with the squad and learn JCO’s system. But, if he can do that Mac can definalty be a benifit to this team.

  10. he should be bought by NY. 150k isnt anything for a player. if a team cant spend 150k on a future talent theres a serious problem. i mean chelsea was talking about spending 100m for ronaldinho at one time.

  11. I hope they can find a way to keep Kandji for next year so they can work him and Mbuta into the team with a full preseason. While Kandji cannot replace Angel, the Argentina rumors are out there and Juan Pablo isnt exactly shooting them down so having him for some striker depth would be nice. Just because we haven’t seen a lot of him recently doesn’t take away from the fact that he performed quite well in USL, which we all have to agree is not that far behind the MLS.

  12. It seems like most of the hype surrounding Kandji is a result of message board overvaluation by Atlanta fans. He definitely has raw talent with the ball at his feet, but he’s obviously tactically inept and doesn’t backtrack enough. I also can’t remember him creating many chances for Angel (aside from the through ball vs. C-bus a month back), which is pretty important for a supporting striker.

    His salary was listed online at $57,000 or so. For that, he’s a worthwhile prospect, but I don’t know if he’s worth a $150k allocation. I guess it depends on who else Osorio can find for that amount.

    Call me crazy, but I think Osorio should look into getting Cornell Glen back. He doesn’t have a club right now, so he’d be on a free transfer, and he’d probably play for a low salary. If he can regain his old form he’d be a steal, and I think he’d complement Angel well.

  13. Kandji has a lot of talent. I think he can be a fulltime starter, but now is not exactly the time to be working him into the team. Next year, though…

  14. Shrewd move by Silverbacks. Is Kandji officially a Railhawks player, or is he a free agent whose rights are owned by the Railhawks (assuming Red Bulls pass on him)?

  15. I think NY should buy Kandji. Remember he hasnt had too much time with the team and I think he hasn’t played lately because Osorio doesnt want to mess up the playoff lineup. as far as I remember Kandji has 2 assists for the limited amount of time he has seen the field and is also very exciting when he comes on.

    I say NY should keep him. fingers crossed.


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