SKC's Kamara still bitter over playoff loss to Houston

ORLANDO, Fla. – The opener of the Disney Pro Soccer Classic on Friday night will give Sporting Kansas City the opportunity to exact a dose of revenge on the Houston Dynamo (6 pm ET live stream on MLSsoccer.com Channel 2).

The Orange registered the upset of the 2011 postseason by defeating Sporting KC 2-0 at Livestrong Sporting Park in the Eastern Conference Championship. And that loss still dwells with Sporting KC’s Kei Kamara to this day.

“Houston won, they went to the final – fortunately for them – but I won’t say that the better team won that day,” Kamara told MLSsoccer.com after practice on Thursday afternoon at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. “Kudos to Houston for winning that [match] but definitely at that point of the season we were playing some of the best soccer in the league.”

MLSsoccer.com caught a glimpse of the group that is expected to form the starting XI against Houston in the first match of a Friday doubleheader which will also feature the Montreal Impact taking on the Vancouver Whitecaps (left to right): Jimmy Nielsen – Seth Sinovic, Matt Besler, Aurélien Collin, Chance Myers – Graham Zusi, Roger Espinoza, Luke Sassano – Bobby Convey, C.J. Sapong, Kei Kamara.

The only new face in that group is Convey, who made the move from the San Jose Earthquakes during the offseason. Kamara expects the continuity to benefit SKC entering the new MLS season.

“It’s definitely good for this team to see this many guys in the club return,” he said. “We have the chemistry that we had last year. We have been keeping things pretty much the same for the last two years, but it’s all about the new guys coming in like Convey and [Paulo] Nagamura and even the rookies for them to kind of adjust to the way we play here. Once they understand that we will be good to go.”

The 27-year-old Kamara ranks among the veterans of this 2012 SKC squad and it sounds like it.

With elder statesmen Davy Arnaud, Jack Jewsbury and Omar Bravo departing the club in recent months, the Sierra Leone winger, who is entering his seventh MLS season, will be counted on to lead the charge … to MLS Cup.

“This year this team is definitely a championship contender,” Kamara said. “We can definitely take ourselves there. There are not many changes we have to do from last year. We have to pick up from where we left off coming into this season.”