FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Like the most beautifully packaged item under a Christmas tree, Kei Kamara’s old team gave him a much sought-after gift.
A tight match between the New England Revolution and Columbus Crew SC opened up in the 71st minute when Teal Bunbury came charging into the box with the ball before running into Crew defender Waylon Francis.
While others were looking for a possible penalty call, Francis and Chad Barson got tied up in an effort to clear the ball, leaving it on the doorstep for Kamara who burst forward and hammered it past Steve Clark to seal a 3-1 victory for the Revs over Columbus on Saturday at Gillette Stadium.
“I wanted to score a goal at home,” said Kamara, who was facing his old club for the first time since a mid-May trade brought him to New England. “They give me a happy meal, I have to eat it… If you give someone a happy meal and they can’t finish it, you’re not worth a happy meal. To me, I love for that to be my first goal here in front of this crowd. That was amazing.”
The goal was Kamara’s third in a Revs uniform, and his first at home. But more importantly it helped New England end a three-game slide in league play.
From the get-go it looked as if New England’s designated player would factor into the game and that was evident early when he was integral in the opening minutes when he helped set up a third minute strike by Lee Nguyen.
“He’s a handful,” his former coach Gregg Berhalter said of Kamara. “We know what he brings. He’s good in the air and he’s good in certain moments. We admired him as a player, no question. He did fine.”
Kamara also factored into his club’s second goal, sending a pass through the six-yard box that was deflected in by Columbus midfielder Wil Trapp for an own goal in the 34th minute.
“I thought he was awesome tonight,” Revolution coach Jay Heaps said of Kamara. “He worked hard.”
“It was a game I never thought was ever going to happen,” Kamara said of playing against Columbus. “When I was part of that team, I just saw myself there, and the only time I ever saw myself playing against those guys was when we did scrimmages in the training. For me, it’s a fun game.”