The $300,000 project
September 29, 2009

During their reign, Juan Carlos Osorio and Jeff Agoos made many personnel mistakes. Jorge Rojas, Juan Pietravallo, Gabriel Cichero, Dominic Oduro... And that's just scraping the top. But one acquisition that never gets mentioned, yet should be placed on that list of errors, is that of Macoumba Kandji. Yes, you heard that right, Macoumba Kandji.

Now, when Kandji is on, he is on. He showed it in the two early Metro wins this year, over Salt Lake and San Jose. In both of the victories, his contributions were essential. Two goals, three assists.

But those two goals and three assists are almost his entire season's total, which now stands at two and four. For when Kandji is off... he is off.

Now, we can blame Osorio for playing Mac in midfield, where he is obviously not adept. But witness the last two matches, when Kandji started at forward. Versus New England, he had a simple breakaway that would have won the game late in the match. He shot wide left. Versus Chivas, the Goats' strategy of playing off Kandji and letting him make a mistake worked like a charm, stiffing Metro attacks.

For Kandji makes mistakes after mistakes. He's a horrible decision maker. Yes, he can beat one man on a dribble, but he cannot beat two men. Or three, which is what he often attempts. Yes, he can pinpoint a pass, but not when there are two defenders in the target area. Or three. Or four.

In short, Kandji's decision making is terrible. And that goes with him not playing organized soccer until late in his teens. Now, that is not something that can't be learned with time. The more Kandji plays, the more he should get used to various situations, and figure out the correct course of action. In theory, at least.

But does Kandji have the attitude to learn? Earlier this year, his teammates have called his commitment into question. And, honestly, nothing we have seen the past few games show an improvement over the decision-making he showed earlier this season. If anything, it has gone down.

So Kandji is a project, a 24-year-old project. But here lies the major problem: RBNY has paid through the roof to take on this project.

In MLS, every dollar counts. So how can one justify paying a $175,000 transfer fee to the now-defunct Atlanta Silverbacks to sign Kandji? And, when one adds the $90,000 salary Kandji is getting paid for his partly two goals, and the money he made last year, we're coming up to $300,000... $300,000 invested in a project which may or may not pan out.

Which, however, is better than building your team around Rojas and Pietravallo.

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