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LAFC trade midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye to Colorado Rapids

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Club original moves to Western Conference foe.

MLS: Los Angeles FC at Dynamo FC Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Now, “Return of the MAK” will take on a whole new meaning.

LAFC announced on Tuesday they have traded midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye to the Colorado Rapids, along with their 2022 first-round MLS SuperDraft pick, in exchange for $1 million in general allocation money, a 2022 international roster slot, and potential add-ons if certain performance thresholds are met.

Kaye, 26, joined LAFC prior to their inaugural season in 2018 from USL Championship side Louisville City. A starter in LAFC’s first-ever game, Kaye was a fixture in the lineup when he was healthy and available and made 77 MLS appearances for the black-and-gold, notching 17 assists and nine goals in league play. Individually, he was an MLS All-Star in 2019.

“Mark has been an incredible player and ambassador for LAFC since he helped launch this Club in 2018,” LAFC Co-President & General Manager John Thorrington said in a team statement. “He has grown into a leader on and off the field and will always be remembered as a fundamental building block of our club. We are thankful to him for all of his contributions and will remember him and wish him and his wife Rachel all the best in Colorado.”

Kaye’s contributions to LAFC, on and off the field, should not go unnoticed, even with a portion of the fanbase getting on his back hard for the past year or so. I will not be shocked if LAFC hit a dip in form and many belatedly realize what the player brought to the team.

At the same time, I think this move makes some sense for both sides. Kaye is a good player, and so it makes sense for the Rapids to push to get him, even at a cool $1 million. I think it’s possible he could go abroad in the future, or he could be an MLS lifer, and he has many productive seasons left to play, regardless.

For LAFC, they were starting to hit a logjam at midfielder, honestly. With Eduard Atuesta extending his stay in Los Angeles for likely another year, and the emergence of Jose Cifuentes as a starting-caliber midfielder and in my mind perhaps LAFC’s best player this season to date, the midfield still runs four deep, plus Bryce Duke, who looks to have made strides forward this season. Plus, LAFC clearly need to balance their books if they want to add to their roster (which they do) and short of selling a player for a multi-million dollar fee, which does not yet appear to be on the horizon, doing an intraleague trade for a good amount of GAM is a good return.

Still, Kaye was a core LAFC player, and it’s going to be weird seeing him wear another MLS team’s gear. Best of luck to him, and thanks so much for the memories in black and gold.

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