The New England Revolution announced via press release today that they have decided to waive Gambian winger Sainey Nyassi, who has been with the Revs since 2007.
Nyassi, 24, made 104 regular-season appearances for the Revolution, including 75 starts since signing with the club as a then youth international player on August 31, 2007, following the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Canada. The Gambia international scored eight goals and added four assists in regular-season action with the Revs. He also made four postseason starts in his career. Nyassi has four caps with The Gambia National Team.
"We want to wish Sainey all the best as he moves into the next stage of his career," General Manager Michael Burns said. "Sainey was always a professional in his time with us and we wish him well."
The mystery surrounding Nyassi for the past two seasons has been palpable, and many Revs fans and media outlets alike (ourselves included, of course) have been scratching their heads for sometime in regards to his role on the team. Although he spent most of 2012 injured, the winger returned to fitness towards the end of the season, playing in a number of reserve league games and even scoring a handful of goals in those matches as well. That same season, Nyassi attained his U.S. citizenship (along with then-Rev and fellow Gambian Kenny Mansally) and no longer took up an international spot on the New England roster.
Under Steve Nicol, Nyassi played pretty much exclusively as a right-sided midfielder, often utilizing his speed and pace to stretch defenses in the final third. However, with the roster turnover that occurred once Jay Heaps took over, Nyassi found himself at the bottom of the pecking order with midfielders like Ryan Guy, Kelyn Rowe, Diego Fagundez, and others occupying that spot in the starting XI.
As the 2013 season began, Nyassi did not appear to be in Heaps' plans after not making any appearances and being selected for the game-day 18 only once. This even furthered the enigmatic and curious nature of his presence on the Revolution roster, and prompted The Bent Musket team to create the #FreeNyassi twitter hashtag to garner support for starting the Gambian with the idealistic hopes that he might be able to help cure the Revs of their scoring woes.
This move frees up a roster spot for the Revolution, and begs the question as to how the team plans to fill that spot. Is this a preemptive move with sights on a big signing in the summer transfer window, or does the Revolution front office have plans to fill the spot even sooner than that? Are there plans to add anyone at all, or is this purely a salary cap-driven decision (Nyassi was making ~$95,000 guaranteed according to the 2013 MLS Player Salaries released by the MLS Players Union earlier this month)?
There are many questions indeed. Regardless of what this decision may lead to down the road, The Bent Musket would like to bid a fond farewell to Nyassi and thank him for his years of service on this team. Good luck, Sainey.