Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Kandji Injury Blow - and More Club Friendlies

The Red Bulls announced today that Macoumba Kandji, who left the training ground in Montclair yesterday on crutches, has been diagnosed with a broken metatarsal bone in his right foot and will require surgery.  The lanky striker is scheduled to miss between 8-12 weeks of the season as a result.

The injury to Kandji, who scored the winning goal in the Red Bulls' stunning 1-0 victory in Seattle and has started each of the team's first four league games this season, leaves a major question mark up front, even though Kandji had been seeing time at left midfield of late.

New arrival Salou Ibrahim, who looked slow and tentative on Saturday when paired with Juan Pablo Angel, will likely be asked to step in again against Philadelphia on Sunday, but you have to wonder whether Hans Backe might prefer to start someone like Conor Chinn in his place, to inject a little quickness.  With the Luke Rodgers transfer still in considerable doubt and the midfield not clicking early in the season, the lack of speed up front is disconcerting.  If Thierry Henry were available now, you'd have to think that the club would be eager to pull the trigger early.  Unless Backe decides to go back to Sinisa Ubiparipovic or Danleigh Borman, new arrival Brian Nielsen will be almost sure to start at LM now, with Kandji unavailable and few other viable options.

PS - Via his Twitter feed, Ives Galarcep suggests that Juan Agudelo might get a run out with Kandji sidelined. Good call - I'd almost forgotten about him.

In other news, the three European clubs competing in July's New York Football Challenge have been unveiled - Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and Sporting Lisbon.  Matches will take place over the weekend of July 22-25, though specific times and matchups have yet to be announced.  Given the sizable Portuguese community around Red Bull Arena, you would have to assume that the Sporting matches will sell out.  Tottenham and Manchester City should also be great draws for U.S.-based fans of the English Premiership and British ex-pats.  No word yet on ticket availability or pricing.

Taken together with the recently announced Juventus friendly, it would seem that the Red Bulls are doing a magnificent job of filling open dates with high-profile soccer matches, though some remain skeptical about the long-term benefit of appealing to Eurosnobs.  Personally I just view it as a great opportunity to see players I wouldn't otherwise get to see and a bit (more) of (my) money in the pocket of the club.  Any ancillary benefit we get in terms of international name recognition or increased season ticket sales is gravy.

Finally, two other Red Bulls-related matters.  First, I would encourage all readers of TVN to get over to the MLS Insider blog and vote for Bouna Condoul for Save of the Week.  We can't let the ballot box stuffers in Seattle deny Bounatime the award this week, can we?  Second, I urge everyone to check out the third installment of Inside the Superdraft (below), which proves once and for all that we have Erik Soler to thank for selecting Tim Ream with the 18th selection. I also like the way that Richie Williams wastes no time in rejecting what I assume was a lousy offer from Trader Mo and Toronto FC.

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