Kei Kamara rescues LAFC with historic goal: "It's a special day"


Kei Kamara picked the perfect moment to equal Landon Donovan's mark of 145 career MLS goals for second place on the league's all-time list.

The iconic striker made his historic tally count Wednesday night, salvaging a late 1-1 draw for LAFC at Austin FC to extend the Black & Gold's unbeaten run to seven games. The result kept them in second place in the Western Conference standings with a 10W-4L-4D record (34 points).

MLS all-time leading scorers
1. Chris Wondolowski
T-2. Landon Donovan
T-2. Kei Kamara
4. Jeff Cunningham
5. Jaime Moreno

Level with Landon

“Landon is obviously one of the role models of this league, somebody I look up to,” the former Sierra Leone international said postgame of the six-time MLS Cup winner. “He’s one of the best, or the best, American soccer player, so for me to be right next to him is amazing.”

Signed as a free agent in late March, the 39-year-old opened his LAFC account in Matchday 21 with a towering header at the back post in the 90th minute that could prove vital for a side that's looking to reach a third-straight MLS Cup in 2024.

“Forget the record,” Kamara remarked. “It was just getting the goal to get back into it so we don’t lose the game so we can keep our streak going.”

Historic moment

Ironically, his teammates seemed more focused on the record than the history-maker himself.

“To see the joy in all of the guys' faces coming into the locker room after the game and seeing them celebrate that goal more than I celebrate that goal is huge,” Kamara shared. “Some of them are like ‘Just enjoy the moment,’ but I’m like ‘Guys, you don’t even realize how big that goal was for us not to [lose].’ They’ll celebrate it for me more than I’m going to celebrate it.”

Kamara still has a ways to go to catch San Jose Earthquakes legend Chris Wondolowski on 171 goals, but with the longevity the 39-year-old has shown across his MLS career, anything is possible. First, he’ll be aiming to pass Donovan with No. 146 later this season.

“It’s a special day today. Obviously, Juneteenth is a celebration, not just June 19th, but my 19th year playing professionally, so it’s a big celebration,” Kamara said.

“I want to say thanks to everybody that paved the way for us to be here, for me to be here as a Muslim refugee from Sierra Leone, having an opportunity to be in America and continue to achieve my dream and be happy.”