Midwest. West Africa. West Coast. East Coast. Kei Kamara gets around these days.
No sooner did Sporting Kansas City’s joint top scorer return from international duty with Sierra Leone then he had to pack up again for a flight clear across the country.
But after rejoining Sporting as a second-half sub in Wednesday’s 1-1 draw at Seattle, Kamara says he’s ready to jump into the starting lineup for Saturday’s match at Philadelphia (7 pm ET, watch LIVE online).
“My legs were good. My body felt good,” Kamara told MLSsoccer.com by phone before Friday’s training session. “My head was just a little bit stuffed, and I felt like it was freezing, coming from Africa to Seattle. I feel right at home in Philadelphia. It’s hot right now.”
So is Kamara. He came back from Africa on a roll, having scored his first two international goals last week in a 4-2 win over São Tomé and Príncipe in the second leg of their African Cup of Nations qualifier. The win propelled Sierra Leone into the next stage on a 5-4 aggregate.
“I feel good to have scored in the really crucial stage, doing it for my country,” he said. “I hope we move on to the final stage. That’d be great. History.”
Kamara also found the net in his most recent league start, scoring what stood as the game-winner in Sporting’s 2-1 home win over San Jose on May 27.
“I left with a goal and I’m coming back with goals,” he said. “I hope I’m not too far off. I just hope that with me coming back, I can pick up where I left off over there.”
That win against San Jose halted a four-game winless streak for Sporting, who have rebounded to go unbeaten over their last four league matches. Their unbeaten streak stands at six straight across all competitions, with Sporting winning their first two US Open Cup matches to set up next week’s home quarterfinal against the USL Pro’s Dayton Dutch Lions.
“I’m just happy for the boys, what they’ve done in the past couple of weeks,” Kamara said. “They’ve been able to keep going in the cup games, so I still get to play in a Cup game. I’m happy about that.”
Kamara was also glad to see well-traveled wide man Jacob Peterson perform well on the wing, recording a goal and an assist – both season firsts – in his two league starts.
“I watched the highlights of the games, and I’m really happy for him to get his first goal for Sporting,” said Kamara, who was on the bench when Peterson scored against the Sounders. “Our roster is all about that. Someone’s just got to step in. I read some things that he was filling in for me. He wasn’t filling in for me. He was just doing his job.”