KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Kei Kamara woke up Saturday morning to some bad news.
During the night, his right ankle had tightened up to the point that it threatened to keep him out of lineup against Toronto FC. Sporting Kansas City’s trainers took one look and issued a straightforward recommendation: Rest it tonight and avoid further aggravation down the line.
Kamara heard the training staff’s advice loud and clear. He just didn’t listen.
“I didn’t know if I was going to play,” Kamara said. “I woke up this morning with kind of a tight ankle. The trainer kept telling me that I should rest it, and I said, 'No way. I just have a feeling about this game.'”
Boy, was he right.
Kamara scored two goals, one a highlight-reel scissor kick, and Omar Bravo added a brace of his own as Sporting Kansas City (6-6-8) exploded for four goals, tied for their season high, and defeated Toronto FC 4-2 on a sweltering night at Livestrong Sporting Park.
Kansas City scored three goals during a nine-minute span in the first half — the fastest flurry by one team in Major League Soccer this season — and tacked on a fourth in the second half to extend their unbeaten streak to 12 games and open a nine-game home stretch with a resounding victory.
The peach of the bunch was Kamara’s first, which came in the 28th minute in acrobatic fashion. Brazilian midfielder Jéferson, who played 90 minutes in his league debut, curled a corner kick to the front post where it took a bounce off Maicon Santos and hung long enough for Kamara to launch himself in the air and drive his right foot through the ball and into the corner.
He followed that up with a powerful header just inside the far post six minutes later to complete his brace and Bravo added a third three minutes after that. But it was scissor kick that drew the plaudits, especially since Kamara had come close to completing similar plays on a few other occasions.
“What do they say here in the US?” he asked after scoring his fourth and fifth goals of the season. “The third time is the charm? I tried one in the Open Cup, I tried one in Houston and this was No. 3. It gets to go in. I’m just happy the bounce came my way. I haven’t had a goal in awhile.”
Even though the game ended comfortably enough, there were a few moments of déjà vu when Sporting jumped ahead by three early in the match before giving up two soft goals. Even SKC manager Peter Vermes said he made a point at halftime to remind his team of what happened in Vancouver, a night Kansas City squandered a three-goal lead.
They eventually allowed Toronto two goals from their own mistakes, but Bravo’s second tally iced the game and gave Sporting a much-needed victory after three-consecutive 1-1 draws.
“As we have moved through this season, we have learned some lessons along the way,” Vermes said. “We haven’t made the same mistake twice. They’ve been very resilient in that regard. I had a lot of faith that we learned from [Vancouver].”