Koffie joined the New England Revolution in Feb. 2016 via a trade with the Vancouver Whitecaps. The acquisition came with the understanding that Koffie would likely depart for Europe at the end of the season. That said, the Ghanaian appeared to enjoy his time in New England, leading to speculation that he might stay.
As of right now, we don’t definitively know the future of Koffie. Should the Revs try to re-sign him or should they just let him go? Here’s what our staff had to say.
Nick: Re-sign Koffie
At first glance, the defensive midfield spot appears as stable as any position on the Revolution roster. Scott Caldwell is only a year removed from earning team MVP honors. Daigo Kobayashi made 27 appearances last season as the unofficial club supersub. And Xavier Kouassi will enter 2017 as a highly-touted (and finally healthy) designated player.
But take a closer look, and the unit feels less secure. Caldwell, though an integral part of the Revolution midfield, plays his best soccer when he has cover from a second defensive midfielder. Kobayashi, who has made 378 professional appearances in his career, turns 34 in February, making him the eldest member of the Revolution. And Kouassi tore his ACL less than a year ago; he’ll likely need several weeks, if not months, to show his true potential.
Of course, Koffie would return with injury concerns of his own, as the Ghanaian midfielder missed 12 starts due to injury last season. But when healthy, he bullied attackers, won tackles and covered acres of space in the middle of the park. By bringing Koffie back into the fold, the Revs will re-acquire a powerful player who, at just 25 years old, may have his best soccer ahead, providing the Revs with both depth and quality at the defensive midfield position.
Jake: Let Koffie go
I will start by saying that I would be happy to have Koffie back next season as he was a vital piece for the Revs throughout the year when he was healthy. But the two biggest cons to his signing would be the Revs new formation only uses one holding midfielder and he'd be taking minutes from Zachary Herivaux.
Now, Koffie isn't just a holding player, so depending on how Jay Heaps organizes the midfield players between new DP Xavier Kouassi and Lee Nguyen at the top of the diamond, there will be minutes available for box-to-box players. It's already a crowded group though, with Scott Caldwell, Kelyn Rowe and Diego Fagundez now playing for just two starting spots. Je-Vaughn Watson's utility and Daigo Kobayashi's veteran presence off the bench will also likely limit minutes in the midfield especially with two strikers up top. Herivaux hasn't seen a lot of minutes within MLS and starting his third season it will be hard for him to jump past three MLS veterans on the depth chart for minutes. If Koffie is signed to backup Kouassi I wouldn't love the move but with the lack of signings so far this offseason, I'm not sure the Revs can afford to not resign their veterans like Koffie and Goncalves at this point.
Seth: Re-sign Koffie
The Revolution's acquisition of Koffie in February 2016 happened without much fanfare, which was understandable because the midfielder was being asked to replace two Designated Players in Jermaine Jones and Xavier Kouassi. That said, it didn't take long for Koffie to prove his worth. In fact, the Ghanaian was likely to be named team MVP before an injury in mid-May sidelined him for a bit.
Even with this hiccup, Koffie had a stellar year with the Revs, which is why the team should re-sign him. The club currently has a lot of talent jockeying to occupy that defensive midfield spot, but the competition is healthy, especially with so many unknowns.
First of all, there's a lot of uncertainty regarding the formation the Revs will utilize. Will we see two defensive midfielders or one?
Kouassi is another unknown, as we don't know how his body will hold up after surgery. Meanwhile, two of Kouassi's back-ups might not be prepared for extended minutes, as Zachary Herivaux is untested and Daigo Kobayashi is aging. Bringing back Koffie would provide suitable cover behind Kouassi and Caldwell.