EDITORIAL – Mark-Anthony Kaye is officially a member of the Colorado Rapids. Earlier this week, he was traded by Los Angeles FC along with their 2022 1st round SuperDraft pick in exchange for $1 million GAM and a 2022 international roster spot. This trade made perfect sense for the Rapids, short term and long term. Here’s why.
Mark-Anthony Kaye Trade: Why it was a perfect fit for Smith and Fraser
Kaye comes to Colorado having spent almost four seasons at LAFC. Before that, he was the engine in the middle for Louisville City in the USL Championship. At one point, Kaye was part of one of the top midfields in MLS with Latif Blessing and Eduard Atuesta.
“We want winners at our club. When you bring someone in with that kind of character and mentality, it’s great. He has been part of successful teams, and an influence in those successful teams,” General Manager Padraig Smith said at a recent press conference.
MAK has not been as good the last two years and LAFC has not lived up internal expectations. They needed financial flexibility to make a big move this summer to challenge for MLS Cup.
Last Word has heard from multiple sources that things were not well with the player as pressure from the supporters had gotten toxic. Pressure and unfair blame was weighing on him. While the relationship was still professional with manager Bob Bradley and the club, all parties knew it was time to part ways.
“Mark-Anthony Kaye is a player we’ve been looking at for quit some time. We’re quit keen on bringing in players who elevate the whole group. We always talk about winning as a team. He’s a good fit for this group and could add to what we’re trying to build,” Smith added.
Kaye matches the transfer policy the Rapids have had the last few years under Padraig Smith and the Rapids Way: He’s a relatively young domestic player with upside who has fallen out of favor with his team. Colorado was able to acquire him for a reasonable transfer fee. He’ll arrive with a chip on his shoulder and contribute to Revenge of the Distressed Assets FC as a team player.
“He’s a really good character. He’s very much about team play. From a character stand point, it’s an easy choice. As a player, he can do everything well. He can play fast, he can play in a crowded midfield, he hits very good final passes, he’s an intense defender, and he’s good on set pieces,” said Head Coach Robin Fraser.
Kaye will now be part of one of the best group of four midfielders in MLS alongside Kellyn Acosta, Jack Price, and Cole Bassett. It’s probably the most versatile midfield in the Western Conference.
“What we really like is the [tactical] flexibility that we have now. It sets us up better to choose what might work better on a particular day against a particular opponent. The level of training will continue to be pushed because the level of competition will continue to be pushed,” Fraser added.
They now have real depth at the position too with Younes Namli still rehabbing and Acosta likely to miss time for national team duty. The Rapids also have an obvious replaces should Acosta or Bassett be sold this summer.
Just like the moves to acquire almost every current starter who isn’t a homegrown, this Mark-Anthony Kaye trade was a perfect fit financially and competitively, short and long term. Lest Bradley and the Black and Gold beware of the next time they face their former player.