FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – After last week’s 4-3 win over the LA Galaxy, Kei Kamara left his heart on his sleeve, explaining that "maybe I wasn't the right piece of the puzzle to help the team move forward."
It was a reference to how he’s nearly 15 months removed from being traded from Columbus Crew SC to the New England Revolution and hasn't parlayed his form from 2015 onto his new club. Flash forward to Saturday night, and it seems as though the striker is starting to hit his groove.
“I don’t know what he meant by what he said all the way, but if that came into our locker room years ago, there would have been a bigger deal with it,” Heaps said. “Our guys put their heads down and went to work and Kei the same way. It wasn’t even an issue at all this week, and I thought we had our best week of training in the entire year.”
Heaps added that Kamara “carries a heavy burden” and “there’s a lot of scrutiny on Kei,” a fact the Sierra Leone international acknowledged postgame. He called out a Goal.com column written by Ives Galarcep on Saturday which questioned Kamara’s standing with the Revs.
“He said I answer a question and took away from the team’s success,” Kamara said. “Obviously the team just had a win today, three points, so if I answer a question like that, he’s going to write something else saying I’m taking away from the team’s success. I’m just going to keep it that way.”
On the field, Kamara was at the heart of all the Revs did right in earning a vital three points against the Union. He cleared a goal-bound header from Oguchi Onyewu off the line in the 69th minute, preserving a 1-0 lead for New England.
But his best moment came in the 38th minute when Kamara lined up a lofted Kelyn Rowe cross, which seemed primed for one of his patented snap headers. Instead, the Revs striker went airborne, karate-kicking home the opening strike.
Not stopping there, Kamara added another in the 85th minute, carefully passing home a low, driven cross from Andrew Farrell. That connection has proven fruitful for the Revs, as they linked up last week against LA for another Kamara tally.
All things considered, Saturday’s win made the trade rumors seem like a distant memory. And if Heaps had to guess, more big things could be coming for his leading front man.
“Kei is putting his head down and working and understanding that we’re trying to get him service, trying to do things to make our entire team better,” the Revolution coach said. “But in that meantime, he’s working. He worked really hard tonight. I thought tonight he did all of the little things.”