KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Kei Kamara is back in Sporting Kansas City's goalscoring column, for the first time since his return from the Premier League. And while he's glad to see that, the big winger said he was never worried about when the ball would first find the net.
“For me, I just worry about playing,” Kamara told reporters after scoring the 68th-minute equalizer in Sporting's 1-1 draw with Houston on Sunday. “I know when I'm out on the field I'm planning and chances are going to come.”
Even so, this was not one of Kamara's usual chances. At 6-foot- 3 and 186 pounds, his size and strength make him a set-piece target – as he showed in the 75th minute, when he snapped off a header that Tally Hall barely tipped over the crossbar.
But this one came from distance, with Kamara settling Claudio Bieler's pass and putting a low left-footer inside the right post after a long buildup.
“The biggest reason why I think we scored was because we possessed the ball and we were knocking it around and we were patient with it,” manager Peter Vermes said during his postmatch news conference. “Obviously good goal by Kei, but it was good that we were moving the ball around, and I think that we made them spread apart.”
Kamara, who has led Kansas City in scoring in each of the past three seasons, came on in a second-half shift that saw him take a position on the right wing, which allowed Graham Zusi to move back to an attacking midfield role.
“I guess it was tough to watch the game from the bench,” said Kamara, who has not started in any of his four appearances with Sporting since returning earlier this month from his loan at Norwich City FC. “It's hard watching it from the outside, but it makes you learn a little bit so when I went in I knew what to do. And like Coach said, it was just a good sequence. It was a good ball played in the inside and I just took that touch and I just got lucky.”
Lucky or not, it helped Sporting save a home point against their Eastern Conference rivals – who were Kamara's club in 2007 and 2008, before he was traded to the then-Wizards.
"It feels great, obviously, to score against your former team,” said Kamara, who has 31 league goals since the move. “The goal, for it to be important like that for my team to get a point from it, it's big."
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.