Blog Written by Benjamin Santini (@Bsantilli27):
Following an incident involving two players during a May 14th clash against the Montreal Impact, the Columbus Crew traded target forward Kei Kamara to the New England Revolution. Kamara was involved in a dispute with teammate Federico Higuain over who was to take a penalty in the 52nd minute. The two exchanged words before the kick was taken which escalated even further. It began as a discussion as the referee sorted through the complaints of Impact players including Didier Drogba. As they voiced their concerns regarding the awarded penalty, the two Columbus men were involved in an increasingly heated discussion that had to be broken up by Crew captain, Michael Parkhurst. The Sierra Leone forward was obviously displeased with the result and refused to celebrate with the team when Higuain converted the penalty and Columbus took a 4-1 lead at home over Montreal. Kamara was understandably upset at his teammate because he had already scored two goals in the game and the penalty would have been a perfect opportunity to add a third goal to cap off an excellent night for the 31-year-old. Federico Higuain however had just scored a goal less than 3 minutes earlier to lift the home team to a 3-1 advantage over the visiting Impact. After the game, Kamara was asked by reporters if the two players would go to lunch to put the dispute behind them and he responded by saying “My Chipotle card only covers one. It says one meal a day. I can’t afford another one.” (via www.oregonlive.com/)
Not long after the dispute, transfer rumors began to surface surrounding the disgruntled player. Though it is still early in the season, Columbus sat ninth in the Eastern Conference with just two games in the win column at that point. With a struggling side on the pitch, the Crew management wanted to rid a bad influence from the dressing room by offloading Kamara and shake things up a bit. His talent is unquestionable and many teams would certainly benefit from the experience that a player with his résumé provides. In 2015, after joining the Crew again from Middlesbrough F.C. in England, Kei Kamara finished the regular season tied with Sebastian Giovinco for the MLS Golden Boot. The prize, however, went to Giovinco because he had recorded more assists. Yet, Columbus might even be better off without Kamara. Negative influences can divide a locker room and cause even more troubles. However, New England has picked up a player who can provide depth to a side that sits just on the border of a playoff spot at this juncture. Signing a proven goal scorer like the former Crew forward could provide them the added push they need to climb the table. The Revolution currently sit tied with D.C. United, Toronto FC and Orlando City for 5th place as they try to gain ground during a home stand that provides some very favorable matchups. Following their 2-0 win over the Chicago Fire, they fell 4-2 to FC Dallas but rebounded with a 2-1 victory over the Seattle Sounders. With Vancouver and D.C. United up next on the schedule, this will give them the opportunity to really jump into the playoff picture.
Kamara joins a talented Revolution attack that includes United States internationals: Lee Nguyen, Juan Agudelo, and Charlie Davies, as well as Uruguayan striker Diego Fagundez among others. Kamara adds some much needed height to a unit that is certainly lacking in that department. Fagundez and Nguyen both are only a diminutive 5’8” and Davies stands just two inches taller while Agudelo is the tallest at 6’1”. Kamara is 6’3”, which gives him a big aerial advantage; his ability to win 50/50 balls will be key for his side and his long, wiry frame makes him an excellent possession striker. With Kamara, the Revolution have a reliable target up front who will provide a sizable advantage in the attack. In addition to his height and control, the central forward is a profound goal scorer; his 22 goals last season are evidence that he has a nose for the net. His goal scoring abilities will be the biggest addition to the Revolution attack. Kamara has more goals than any Revolution forward to this date with a total of five goals. The number of goals Kamara can provide, establish him as a valuable asset to any team and a sign that the Revolution have begun their search to find an answer to their struggles temporarily until the next transfer window opens on the Fourth of July.
Kamara has yet to score since moving to New England and the full impact of this deal is yet to be seen. Will Kamara turn his season around and help to boost the Revolution into contention for the MLS Cup? That depends on the attitude and desire of the player and the aspirations of the team around him.