Kei Kamara has only spent a few weeks with his new MLS team, but he already believes they can do at least one thing at an elite level: score off set pieces.
After the Vancouver Whitecaps completed their participation in the Pacific Rim Cup, Kamara told the National Post he believes his side might be the best in all MLS at restart situations in 2018. He pointed to a pre-tournament friendly against Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo, when Tim Parker netted twice off dead ball situations.
The National Post notes that nine of Vancouver's regulars are at least 6-foot-2, including Parker. Tony Tchani is 6-foot-4. Kendall Waston is 6-foot-5.
“I actually think we’re going to be the most dangerous team in the league on set plays,” the 6-foot-3 Kamara said. “We’ve showed [it] since the first preseason game that we played, when Timmy scored two off set plays. But it’s not about me, it’s not about Timmy, it’s not about Kendall, it’s about all of us.
“If we make that run, and you want to mark us, there’s always going to be someone else that’s open. We’re seriously going to be the most dangerous team on set plays, offensive and defensively, when it comes to this season.”
They may not have to raise their level too much to take that mantle. According to Opta, in 2017, the Whitecaps were tied for second in the league in scoring off set pieces, with 16 goals, just one behind league leaders Houston Dynamo. They also placed in a tie for second in set piece defense, once again conceding only one more goal than the Dynamo.
Meanwhile, Kamara was a member of the New England Revolution last year, and they scored 10 set-piece goals last year, tied for ninth in the league. Kamara has been renowned throughout his career for his heading ability, which often plays a role in set piece scoring, while the free kick king in MLS is unquestionably Toronto FC's Sebastian Giovinco, who has continued on his incredible run of free kick form during the Reds' preseason itinerary.