FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Kei Kamara remains in search of his first career hat trick, but he came about as close as possible to accomplishing the feat on Saturday night at Gillette Stadium.
Kamara scored a pair of goals at one end of the field and cleared a goal-bound header off the line at the other, leading the New England Revolution to a critical 3-0 win over the Philadelphia Union.
“He was tremendous,” said Scott Caldwell, who put together the first two-assist effort his career. “(He had) energy on both sides of the ball, creating chances, helping defensively. It was a great performance and it really kind of helped the rest of the team’s energy, as well. We fed off it.”
Head coach Jay Heaps called Kamara’s clearance off the line – in the 69th minute with the Revs leading 1-0 – “one of the biggest plays of the game,” and praised the striker’s effort from start to finish.
“Tonight, he did all the little things,” Heaps said. “He did a really good job of holding the ball up and battling with their center backs.”
But, of course, Kamara is often judged on his goal-scoring production, and on Saturday night he delivered in that capacity, as well. His acrobatic finish of Kelyn Rowe’s cross in the 38th minute defied gravity, and his second of the night salted away the result in the closing stages.
The double gives Kamara seven goals on the year – one back of Lee Nguyen and Juan Agudelo for the team lead – and the powerful forward is suddenly finding his form with three goals in the last two games.
Kamara was reluctant to talk about himself postgame, however, instead choosing to focus on the Revolution’s defensive performance as they kept a clean sheet for the first time since June 3.
“We didn’t let up any goals tonight; that was the focus going in,” Kamara said. “Philly has really put up some goals against us, and we just wanted to defend. We weren’t really worried about going forward and scoring goals, because we knew when we got our chances, it was going to happen.”
After back-to-back wins at home to pull themselves back into the mix in the East, the Revs now need to translate that success to the road, where they’ll play three of four games in August.
“We need another great week of training and bring that same mentality, and get a road win,” said Caldwell.