FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Eighteen minutes into the New England Revolution’s 4-0 win over Real Salt Lake last Saturday night, Kei Kamara rose above his defender to nod home Lee Nguyen’s corner kick.
And everyone knew what was coming next.
Joined by Nguyen, Kelyn Rowe, Antonio Delamea, Benjamin Angoua and Andrew Farrell, Kamara celebrated the goal by pretending to rock a baby to sleep, an homage to his newborn son, welcomed to the world just 36 hours earlier.
“It’s the international baby rock,” Kamara said with a smile. “You cannot not do it.”
The goal was the perfect capper to a whirlwind few days for Kamara, who spent Thursday night into Friday morning beside his wife’s hospital bed, trained with the Revs on Friday afternoon, and found himself back in New England’s starting lineup on Saturday night.
“Who sleeps these days? No one does,” Kamara said through bloodshot eyes during the postgame press conference. “They told me that after a couple [kids], forget sleep. But hey, I’m a vampire.”
Kamara replaced the injured Juan Agudelo (upper extremity) in the lineup against RSL to mark his first appearance since April 22, having missed the trips to both Seattle and Columbus while awaiting the birth of his second child.
“I’ve missed it,” Kamara said. “I wanted to be back in there, be part of the team and really help the team to what we want to do, to win.”
Kamara played 67 minutes and tacked on an assist to his goal, taking a team-high four shots. It was the type of impact the Revs hoped to get when they acquired the veteran forward one year ago.
“You could see the relief a little when he came to training [on Friday], even after being in the delivery room all night,” said head coach Jay Heaps. “I knew he was going to be ready for the chance tonight.”
Everyone in a Revolution kit was ready for the chance on Saturday night – Scott Caldwell, Diego Fagundez and Nguyen scored, as well – and Kamara was thrilled to celebrate his whirlwind week with not just a goal, but a vital three points.
“I don’t want it to be just about my last few days and me having the little one,” Kamara said. “I’m just happy to be back on the field, really, just to help the team. Coming back on the field and having three points, that’s the best thing you could wish for.”