By head coach Hans Backe’s count, Red Bulls attacker Macoumba Kandji had six good opportunities to score in Sunday night’s scoreless draw in Chicago.
Kandji—who has had a scintillating few weeks, including in two standout performances in the Barclays New York Challenge—was obviously disappointed with his inability to put one in the back of the net against the Fire.
“I couldn’t sleep very well yesterday because of those opportunities,” the 25-year-old said.
Kandji missed a clear sitter after Dane Richards sent in a quality ball across the face of goal, and though Kandji was there to pounce on it, he somehow didn’t connect [WATCH].
However, the solution to getting over the misses is simple: The disappointing effort is fueling him for Wednesday night's home tilt vs. Eastern Conference rivals Toronto FC.
In a game where both teams are battling for playoff position, Kandji said to expect big things.
“It’s the battle of who is going to be in second place [in the Eastern Conference],” he said. “It’s going to be a very exciting game because I am going to leave everything on the field.”
Backe said that he hasn’t talked to Kandji about the misses and that he’s not worried about it. He said that he’s seen the quality of the player over the past month and doesn't view this as a dip in form.
“He’s been doing well," Backe said. "Sometimes you miss. You have to accept it.”
Coming back from an ankle injury, Kandji said that he is “90 percent right now” in terms of fitness. With the addition of Thierry Henry to the New York roster, Kandji has been moved to a wide position to free up a striker’s spot up top.
And though Kandji said that the position in which he plays doesn’t matter—he just wants to help the team—he admits he prefers playing up top rather than in a wide midfield position.
Kristian Dyer is a reporter for MLSSoccer.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs. He can be reached for comment at KristianRDyer@yahoo.com and followed at twitter.com/kdyer1012