KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Somehow, Kei Kamara and C.J. Sapong managed to get away with their wearin’ o’ the green without seeing yellow.
After Kamara’s first-half goal put Sporting Kansas City up 2-0 on New England this past Saturday, the two forwards ran to the end boards, retrieved a couple of green hats previously stashed there, and put on a (sort of) Irish dance for the faithful in the Cauldron supporters section.
“You know me. I’m going to have fun,” Kamara said after the eventual 3-0 victory. “We just called [kit man] Mike Flaherty and said, ‘Hey, can you make this happen? Can we get some hats at the side of the goal?”
WATCH: Kamara, Sapong dance a jig
Midfielder Graham Zusi, who had already gotten a caution for excessive celebration following his 28th-minute goal, broke up the party by pulling off Sapong’s hat. Kamara then got a bit of a lecture from referee Silviu Petrescu as he ran back for the ensuing kickoff.
“The referee came to me and said, ‘You know, you could get a card for that,’” Kamara said. “I said, ‘Oh, really? I didn’t know. It won’t happen again.’”
While Petrescu wasn’t impressed, the move delighted the standing-room-only St. Patrick’s Day crowd at Livestrong Sporting Park.
“It was just something we wanted to do to get the crowd involved and in good spirit,” Sapong said.
Collin being evaluated
Defender Aurélien Collin is still being evaluated for a tight hamstring that forced him out of Saturday’s match.
The French center back was lifted for Lawrence Olum just before the hour mark, a move manager Peter Vermes characterized as precautionary.
“He’s going through therapy,” Vermes told MLSsoccer.com after Monday’s abbreviated training session. “I don’t think we’ll know anything until probably Wednesday. I think what happened was, he just kind of cramped up in his hammy and didn’t want to go again.
“If it’s cramped up and you go on, then there’s a chance of getting a tear or something. It’s still sore, which you kind of expect, so he did a bike today just to get the lactic acid out.”
On the flip side, midfielder Paulo Nagamura made his Sporting debut as a second-half sub on Saturday, after a calf strain kept him out of the season opener.
“It feels great,” said Nagamura, who also struggled with injuries last year at Chivas USA. “After a few months on the sidelines with injuries, it felt great to play.”
Two games into last season, Sporting had already given up five goals. This time around, goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen has two clean sheets in as many outings.
While no one expects that scoreless streak to last forever, SKC’s defenders are taking pride in the pair of shutouts.
“It’s such a long season,” center back Matt Besler said. “There’s going to be ups and downs. But we’ve been saying all along, through the preseason, that we really feel ahead of where we’ve ever been, and we’re two-for-two in showing that.
“That’s the most important part, getting the shutouts,” Besler added. “If you don’t give up a goal, you can’t lose – and I don’t mind not losing.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com. Write to him at email@example.com.