TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Trade
Minnesota United FC announced the acquisition of MLS veteran Kei Kamara via trade from the Colorado Rapids a 2022 second round SuperDraft pick and $150,000 in 2021 General Allocation Money (GAM). He'll be eligible for MNUFC after completing mandatory quarantine period under local government and MLS health and safety protocols.
Loons head coach Adrian Heath has made no secret of wanting to add forward depth with Mason Toye their only healthy option at the moment. Kamara provides a boost even if offseason acquisitions Luis Amarilla and Aaron Schoenfeld return from injury.
“We’ve added one of the best goalscorers in MLS history,” said MNUFC Head Coach Adrian Heath in a club statement. “Given our current situation dealing with injuries we knew we had to make a move and we feel we have added another really important piece to our already potent attacking core. Every team we play now will know they have to contend with one of the best aerial threats in league history. We’ve been very dangerous on set pieces already this season and with the addition of Kei we are now even more dangerous. Kei has loads of experience and will no doubt be a benefit to this roster both on the field and in the locker room.”
Fifth all-time with 129 goals, Kamara has played in MLS since 2006 and Minnesota becomes his eighth different team. He had three goals in nine matches for Colorado this year, though he didn’t feature in back-to-back games as the Rapids looked to rediscover their early-season form.
Kamara, 36, now teams up with Emanuel “Bebelo” Reynoso, Minnesota’s prized No. 10 signing who officially joined via transfer from Boca Juniors on Sept. 1. A striker who thrives off service into the box, Kamara will also benefit from chance creation by Kevin Molino, Robin Lod and Ethan Finlay – three of the Loons' other attacking midfielders.
With Kamara departing Colorado, the Rapids will be turning to Diego Rubio and Andre Shinyashiki as lead strikers. Rubio has two goals in 11 matches this year, while Shinyashiki has one goal in eight matches after winning the winning 2019 AT&T MLS Rookie of the Year award.
Here's what Rapids head coach Robin Fraser had to say about the move in a media conference call shortly after the reports emerged:
“I think for a long time we’ve considered how we want to further incorporate youth into the group and certainly going forward we like Andre Shinyashiki a lot. We like Diego Rubio a lot and it just became evident that it was the right time and it’s the right time for both parties," Fraser said. "I wish Kei well and I think he’ll do really well at Minnesota.
"It’s certainly a longer term view in looking at getting Andre Shinyashiki and Diego more time in the competition and more specifically between the two of them. In terms of acquiring a player [in the transfer window which closes Oct. 29], at the end of the day we want to make sure it’s the right player and if we don’t feel as if we have the exact ideal player in the next month, then it’ll be out in the future.”
Minnesota are 2W-4L-0D since the MLS is Back Tournament, and are looking to make the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs for the second year running. Colorado have similarly struggled, winning once in their last nine games. Both teams are in the 12-team Western Conference, which will send eight teams to the playoffs this year instead of seven.