Like fine wine: Kei Kamara scores for 9th MLS club after opening CF Montréal account

Kei Kamara firmly announced his MLS return Saturday in CF Montréal's 4-3 win over FC Cincinnati at TQL Stadium, tallying one goal and two assists in the Canadian side's first league victory of the 2022 campaign.

Kamara's goal in first-half stoppage time was his first in the league since Oct. 3, 2020 with Minnesota United FC and gave him 131 total against 24 different MLS clubs. He's now two goals away from tying Jaime Moreno at 133 MLS goals for the fourth-most in league history.

The 37-year-old, who first played in MLS in 2006, is a fair distance away from reaching Chris Wondolowski atop MLS’s all-time scoring chart, with the San Jose Earthquakes legend tallying 171 before retiring last fall. But the 40-goal gap is on his mind, too.

“You got to get there. I mean, before that wasn't my goal ever to worry about how many goals to be MLS leading scorer or whatever it was,” Kamara said. “But when you get to this point, then you become one of the last men standing. Well, one of the last men standing. Kudos to Chris Wondolowski, who sends me messages saying: ‘Hey, brother, I want to see you get more goals.’”

For midfielder Djordje Mihailovic, Kamara’s presence and guidance have been a big factor for Montreal as they sort their bearings in league play after juggling a Concacaf Champions League run that ended in the quarterfinals vs. Liga MX's Cruz Azul.

“The first thing I have to say about Kei is the personality he brings into the locker room,” said Mihailovic, who scored two goals at Cincy. “I think the biggest thing that we could have done is bring this kind of player, a veteran player, into this young locker room.

“He's won, he's lost, he's played at the top level with Norwich in the Premier League as well. So it's having that presence. Before the soccer player, it’s just the person in the locker room.”

Kamara joined Montréal in mid-February after last playing in Finland for HIFK Fotboll, this move prompting his ninth MLS club. His worldly experience as a longtime Sierra Leone international only benefits the squad, Montréal head coach Wilfried Nancy noted.

“He brings a lot of humility, you need time to adapt to the way that we play,” Nancy said. "He tries to adjust but the players also have to adapt if Romell Quioto or Kei is playing up top. Kei also has to adjust to the game we play. He also helped us with his physical presence today.”

With his first goal in CFM colors, the striker is eager to find the back of the net at Stade Saputo and celebrate with a home crowd.

“I wanted to get that off my shoulder because, again, it's a club that I really, really, really am excited to be able to play for,” Kamara said. “I definitely want to see how far we can push this, how much I can be an impact on this team when my number's called to be on the field, to be on the side, to be off the field – whatever it is to be able to help.”