Finally, My Wish has Come True
Tyler Fell Finally Gets What He Wants!
Tyler Fell
Sep 14th 2010

Letís remember September 14th as the day the Rapids officially booked there place in the 2010 MLS Playoffs.

Today the Rapids made the move Iíd personally been hoping theyíd make for two seasons. Mehdi Ballouchy is no longer in the starting lineup, in fact, heís no longer even a Rapid. The Colorado Rapids completed a trade this morning that sees Mehdi take his considerable ďtalentsĒ to the Big Apple in exchange for Senegalese midfielder/striker Macoumba Kandji.

To me getting Mehdi out of the starting lineup is the big story here. I donít necessarily think he needed to be traded as he could add something to the lineup as a second half sub, but he just made too many unforced errors to be a starter on a playoff caliber MLS team. Iíd much rather have a less flashy player that can just play consistent quality passes to feet. Mehdi had the flair, but not the fundamentals.

Taking a look at the Rapidís 2010 salary information shows that Mehdi was making $88,000 this season, which is the third lowest of regular starters (Kimura at $57,750 and shockingly Wynne at $66,500 are lowest). To me this indicates it wasnít a move to make salary space as Kandji is set to make about $113,000 this season. The front office must truly think Mehdi has no more room for improvement and Kandji is a better choice. Iíd have rather seen them keep Mehdi on the subs bench and use the $25000 opportunity cost to upgrade the team in some other capacity.

So, who will take Mehdiís place as the attacking midfielder? Will it be the new boy Kandji or will it be someone we are familiar with like Claudio Lopez or Wells Thompson? Neither Thompson nor Lopez have been particularly convincing in their appearances this season, but both are improvements on Ballouchy. Inserting either of these players into midfield in Mehdiís stead gives the team instant improvement in my opinion as Mehdi was consistently the weakest player in our starting lineup.

However, Kandji could come in and start given his credentials. He only has 8 appearances for New York this season and no goals, but thatís mostly because he missed the first half of the season with a broken foot. The Sun, an admittedly often less than factual British tabloid, linked Kandji to both Bolton and Blackpool prior to the season due to good showings against Manchester City and Tottenham in preseason friendlies. If thatís true then he certainly has some positive upside that makes me look forward to seeing him on the pitch.

So, in exchange for a player like Mehdi who really had no further upside we get a potential premiership quality player in Kandji. When you look at the move that way it seems brilliant. However, I really think just sitting Mehdi would have a accomplished the same thing and saved the club a bit of money as we have two players on our bench that could take his place and immediately improve the team.

That being said I hope Kandji can come in and make an immediate impact and help take our boys over the hump and into the playoffs. So long Mehdi. Have fun getting yelled at by Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez when your attempted pass go out of bounds instead of to their feet.

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