KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Kei Kamara isn’t a shy sort of fellow.
Not about Irish dancing to celebrate a St. Patrick’s Day goal, not about pranking his Sporting Kansas City teammates – and certainly not about taking shots.
Kamara, who leads this week’s Castrol Index rankings, has taken 24 shots in just three matches for undefeated SKC. That’s 11 more than anyone else in MLS, and an average of eight per outing.
Okay, so he’s only connected on two of those attempts so far. But don’t look for the Sierra Leone international to stop firing away at his record pace any time soon.
“Short memory,” said Kamara, who had a penalty kick stopped by Kevin Hartman but then scored the late game-winner in Sunday’s 2-1 victory over FC Dallas. “That’s the striker’s conscience right there. Short memory. Forget about it. Keep going.”
WATCH: Kamara’s late goal leads SKC
Of all the forwards in the league, Kamara is likely the most qualified to make that statement – after a gaffe two years ago that ranks among the game’s all-time lowlights.
On April 24, 2010, in a scoreless home draw with LA, Kamara slipped on a rain-slick pitch with the ball at his feet and an open goal just six inches away. When he fell, he knocked the ball in … with his arm.
Handball. No goal. Instant YouTube infamy. “The Miss of the Century,” England’s The Sun called it.
“I had one of the biggest misses in the history of soccer,” Kamara said. “If you can’t get that out of your head, you can never play. It’s just how fast you can rebound from something like that.”
Kamara was quick to put the blunder behind him, leading the club with 10 goals that season and then sharing Sporting’s top honors with nine last year. And if he stays on pace this season, he’ll be back in double digits – even if it takes a few hundred shots to get there.
“He knows they’re going to come,” said defender Chance Myers, who set up Kamara’s game-winner against Dallas.
The club record for most shots in a season is 140, set by Preki in MLS’ inaugural season. Mamadou Diallo, of the now-defunct Tampa Bay Mutiny, holds the league record with 152 shots in 2000.
Sporting manager Peter Vermes won’t even hazard a guess as to how many attempts Kamara will take this year.
“I just hope,” Vermes said, “that a lot of them go in.”