Ola Kamara has yet to bring the consistent goal scoring ability to D.C. United that he has showed in previous MLS stops with Columbus Crew SC and the LA Galaxy.
However, manager Ben Olsen, is confident the Norwegian striker's dry spell will end so long as he can keep getting on the field.
"The first thing he and we need to do is keep him healthy," Olsen said of the 30-year-old, who has gone the full 90 minutes just once this season. "He's had a few soft tissue injuries since he's been here, and that's been I think halting some of the momentum that he needs right now to get back and playing every game and creating those relationships with the players that are going to ultimately provide him goals.
"We all know Ola is not a guy that is going to beat two guys and create his own shot. We have to help him. That means he has to be on the field, but we know when he does get his chances, he knows what to do with it."
HIGHLIGHTS: FC Cincinnati vs. D.C. United | August 21, 2020
Kamara had proven both prolific and durable in three previous MLS seasons, making 93 league appearances (83 starts) between 2016 and 2018 while scoring 48 times. After a short, unsuccessful stint in the Chinese Super League, he landed back in MLS with D.C. last summer and scored three goals, but battled a hamstring ailment.
More injury troubles means he's played only 230 minutes in 2020 despite playing five games and making four starts. But his 60-minute showing in a 0-0 away draw against FC Cincinnati on Friday night suggests he might go as deep or deeper into Tuesday's home match against the New England Revolution (7 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in the US and DAZN in Canada).
The man projected to be one of Kamara's chief providers this season, Edison Flores, could be capable of as many as 60 minutes after returning from a hamstring injury as a sub on Friday night, Olsen said. And if nothing else, there is still a belief — as there was much of last season — that one or two goals may be enough to get three points in any match D.C. plays.
The result Friday was D.C.'s first clean sheet of 2020, after keeping 14 in 2019.
"I'd like more menace, more cohesion," Olsen said. "More rhythm, more relationships. We've changed a lot of structures, and because of how fractured it has been and injuries, or availability, and we're also changing tactically toward the opponent. I think the defensive side is a little bit more — it's easier to teach, and I think that part has been still something that we can fall back on and doing a good job on over the last couple years."