[MLS] The arrival of Danish midfielder Brian Nielsen may come in the nick of time for the Red Bulls, which have lost Macoumba Kandji for at least two months with a broken foot.
Kandji, 24, suffered a fractured fifth metatarsal in his right foot on Tuesday, according to a team press release, and underwent surgery Wednesday. His recovery is expected to last eight to 12 weeks. He had started all four of New York’s games this season and scored a goal April 3 in a 1-0 win at Seattle, which ended the team's 27-game skid without a road win.
He has played on both sides of midfield as well as up front for the Red Bulls, and played the full game in the Red Bulls' 2-1 defeat of Dallas last weekend. His spot in the starting lineup could be taken by Nielsen, 23; whose acquisition by MLS on loan from Vejle BK of the Danish second division had been announced by the team last week.
“Brian is a very promising young player who has pace and can deliver quality service with both feet,” said New York general manager and sporting director Erik Soler. “We are thrilled to sign him and he will immediately compete for a spot in our starting lineup.” Nielsen has scored 15 goals in 92 games for Vejle since his pro debut in 2005.
Nielsen will be eligible to play once his International Transfer Certificate (ITC) is received by the league office. The Red Bulls are hopeful his paperwork can be completed in time for him to play this weekend when they host Philadelphia at Red Bull Arena.
If Nielsen isn’t available, Coach Hans Backe might give another shot to recently signed Salou Ibrahim, who failed to impress in his first start against Dallas and was replaced by Danleigh Borman, an option on the left side of midfield. English striker Luke Rodgers’ acquisition is still hung up, though Notts County agreed to terminate his contract prior to the close of the U.S. transfer window April 15 to help consummate the deal. Backe coached Rodgers for nine games at Notts County before resigning in December prior to taking the Red Bulls’ job.
Backe has confirmed reports that Rodgers, 28, has been unable to secure a visa to enter the United States because of a string of legal problems, including an arrest and assault charge stemming from a nightclub brawl in England last October. As a free agent, he is eligible to register with MLS/U.S. Soccer and play for the Red Bulls outside of the transfer window.