Despite suspension, Columbus Crew SC's Kei Kamara doesn't regret comments

OBETZ, Ohio—When Columbus Crew SC host the Supporters Shield-leading Colorado Rapids on Saturday (7:30 pm ET; MLS LIVE), they’ll be doing so without their star striker.

Head coach and sporting director Gregg Berhalter announced at Crew SC training onTuesday the suspension of Kei Kamara due to the forward’s postgame tirade directed at teammate Federico Higuain.

The pair fought over who would be taking a 53rd-minute penalty kick that put Columbus up 4-1 over Montreal Impact, and Kamara would later call Higuain “selfish” for taking – and scoring – the kick himself. After the incident, Crew SC imploded, blowing the three-goal lead to draw 4-4.

Berhalter said Kamara’s postgame quotes were the reason for his decision.

“The action of Kei, speaking out against a teammate, is unacceptable,” Berhalter said. “We have zero tolerance for that. Therefore, he won’t be playing in the game Saturday – coach’s decision. And then we try to move forward in the right way. We’re a team that keeps things together. We keep things between ourselves, and that’s why that decision was made.”

Kamara said he wouldn’t take back a word of Saturday's answers and he felt the suspension was “not at all” warranted or fair.

“[Berhalter] told me that this morning, and obviously I didn’t agree to it all,” Kamara said. “I won’t agree to it. But he’s the boss, and if he says, ‘We don’t need you for the weekend. You’re going to have to sit out for the weekend,’ there’s nothing I can do about that.”

Higuain declined requests to speak to reporters at training.

Team captain Michael Parkhurst said he didn’t feel the need to talk to the pair individually. He said Kamara gave a good practice after being told of his suspension, so he wasn’t worried about the striker’s response.

“It was Gregg’s decision,” Parkhurst said. “We support Gregg and we support the team.”

Kamara said the entire situation was “a weird feeling.” He said he had never been suspended by his own club before.

“It’s kind of awkward,” he said. “I feel like I’m creating all these meetings and all you guys here and all this stuff. But that’s not me. Everybody knows me. I’m a positive attitude guy. I want to play; I want to win; I want to score goals. It’s weird to say I’m selfish when I’m a forward, because that’s just what we do. We want to score goals.”

Despite the devastating result of last Saturday's match, Berhalter made it clear where his focus lies. Asked about whether a win would have resulted in the same turmoil, he said the result was an afterthought.

“To me, it’s secondary to the damage that was done on the field,” he said. “That’s what concerns me most, and that’s what we’re working hard to repair … Even if you get the win, with that type of thing you can’t sustain success. That’s what we have to hit head on.”

Kamara says the pair will move on as teammates, though when asked if he would take Higuain to lunch so the pair could hash things out, the striker seemed unwilling.

My Chipotle card only covers one,” Kamara said. “It says, ‘One meal a day.’ I can’t afford another one.”

Will a suspension turn the talkative Kamara into a robotic interview? He says he’s not censoring himself at all:

“I’m Kei; I leave it all out there. Whether I’m playing or I’m not playing or with my tweets or with my fun or whatever I’m doing, I let people know who I am. I don’t need to fake [to] or hide [from] anybody.

“If I’m here for this club, I want to play for this club, I’m going to show my heart and leave everything out there. That’s what I’ve been doing.”