FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Five games into his New England Revolution tenure, Kei Kamara is still in search of his first goal or assist. But although the prolific forward has yet to put his own name on the scoresheet, his fingerprints have been all over it in recent weeks.
Kamara’s presence has no doubt sparked the Revolution’s attack, which averaged just 1.18 goals per game in the 11 matches before his arrival. With Kamara in the lineup, New England are averaging two goals per game and have won four out of five games in all competitions.
Much of that has to do with the attention Kamara draws, as players like Lee Nguyen (three goals, four assists since Kamara’s arrival) have benefitted from increased space.
“Teams have got to deal with him,” said head coach Jay Heaps. “That creates a little bit more space for Lee, Kelyn (Rowe), Diego (Fagundez), Juan (Agudelo) and Teal (Bunbury).”
“”He’s working his tail off to put pressure on the defense,” added Bunbury. “He’s making runs. He’s drawing defenders away from guys and opening up space for players. He’s holding the ball up extremely well.”
Kamara’s contributions have gone beyond merely opening up space for teammates; his work-rate is directly generating scoring opportunities. He’s drawn 10 fouls in his four league appearances, including one that led to London Woodberry’s set-piece goal last weekend in Vancouver.
“There’s a lot he’s doing to keep plays alive,” Heaps said. “Anything in the air, or battling, or balls into his feet, he’s keeping plays (alive) that otherwise we may not have. I think that if you extend plays for our guys, we’re that much better offensively.”
Kamara, who had a league-leading 22 goals last season and has racked up 79 goals in a 10-year MLS career, is confident that the goals will eventually come in a Revolution uniform. But for now, he’s perfectly satisfied with helping his new team win any way he can.
“I think I still have some goals in MLS and I’m not worried at all,” Kamara said after the win in Vancouver. “Right now, being part of this team, playing four games – five including Cup games – and getting mostly wins, to me, it’s just perfect.
“That’s really what I want to add into the team. Whatever energy or venom I can add with these guys going forward, us getting wins, going up in the table, that’s better than goals for me.”