FOXBOROUGH, Mass.—Though his debut with the New England Revolution went without his name on the scoresheet, striker Kei Kamara was an instant factor for his new club.
In the Revs' 2-0 victory over Chicago on Saturday night – their first three-point effort since April 1 – the team’s new forward proved a pesky foe for the Fire and quickly fit in with New England on multiple levels.
“Kei came to us and right away you know who he is,” said Revolution coach Jay Heaps. “He’s punished us before in games. So when you have someone in the league that you know well, they come in to the locker room with instant respect. It energizes the team. I could tell right away.”
Kamara, fresh off his trade from Columbus Crew SC, worked well up top, despite only having one opportunity to train with his new teammates after arriving with the Revs on Friday. The connection came didn't take long between the Revs' core group of attackers and Kamara, who recorded six shots – four of them on goal.
“For me, I really want to be able to connect with them on the field,” Kamara said. “It looked like we were kind of understanding each other a bit faster than I expected."
In the 22nd minute, he and Lee Nguyen worked brilliantly coming into the left side of the box, using a combination of passes that ultimately played Kamara in and past the Fire back line before Matt Lampson snuffed out his point blank shot. On the ensuing corner kick, Nguyen scored off of a well-executed set piece for the first goal of the match.
“I want to thank Columbus, obviously,” Nguyen joked. “[Kei's a] great addition. He’s so smart, so athletic, and he wins everything. You’re going to have to watch him. It adds another dynamic to our attack.”
With a whirlwind of a three-day stretch now behind the Revolution’s new Designated Player, Kamara is happy to help his new club grab three points, but eager to get back to working on those new on-field connections in the coming weeks.
“I’m excited to be here, but more excited right now to get back to my hotel room and get to bed knowing we got three points today,” he said. “It’s going to be a lot of work going into the training ground, but tonight was good.”