Rapids rue losing Sanna Nyassi in Expansion Draft

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — Sanna Nyassi notched five goals in 2011 for the Colorado Rapids. But he won’t be scoring any in 2012. The Gambian winger was selected by the Montreal Impact in Wednesday’s Expansion Draft.

The Rapids are already ruing the circumstances that will see the speedy Nyassi, 22, leave the side.

“Sanna was best used when he got the freedom to improvise and really express himself playing at that forward position,” technical director Paul Bravo told MLSsoccer.com. “It is bitterly disappointing [to see him go], but we have these rules we have to live by.”

Managing director Jeff Plush has called for greater attacking play, especially at home, from the Rapids since the departure of former coach and 2010 MLS Cup winner Gary Smith. Bravo was very aware of the fact that the Rapids have lost just one of their most attacking players.

“Jeff is spot on there,” he said. “It was one of those very tough decisions. I would have left myself unprotected just to keep Sanna.”

But that wasn’t possible. It was a no-brainer that the Rapids would protect regular starting strikers Conor Casey and Omar Cummings, and so Nyassi was one of four forwards on offer, including Caleb Folan, Macoumba Kandji, Andre Akpan and Quincy Amarikwa.

“While we didn’t want to lose him or any of our other players, it’s part of the Expansion Draft process,” Bravo said.