When Kei Kamara boarded a plane for Sierra Leone, he packed a big chunk of momentum for the trip.
Sporting Kansas City’s right winger, who joins his national team this week for a pair of World Cup qualifying matches and an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier, is coming off a one-goal, one-assist performance in Sunday’s 2-1 win against San Jose. Now, he’s looking to carry that over into his play with the Leone Stars.
WATCH: Kamara beats Busch with header
“It’s nice to leave with a win,” Kamara said in the postgame news conference. “I have like a 64-hour flight over there, and I won’t be that sad on the plane. I get to travel over there with a little bit of a smile on my face.”
Kamara has eight caps for the Leone Stars, who host the Cape Verde Islands on Saturday and travel to Equatorial Guinea a week later in 2014 World Cup qualifying play. After that, Sierra Leone host São Tomé and Príncipe in Cup of Nations qualifying on June 15.
The Leone Stars are on a five-match winless streak and have lost their last four, but Kamara knows a little bit about reversing slides of late. Sporting were winless in four before Sunday’s victory, and Kamara wasn’t happy with his play over that span – and not just because he didn’t score in those four matches.
“Being frustrated was definitely not about me scoring goals,” he said. “It was about how the way I was contributing to help the team. I didn’t feel like I did as much. If we’d have been getting the points, I wouldn’t have minded as much. But when I got that goal, it felt good.”
No one could accuse Kamara, who leads Sporting with five goals and is tied for most shots on goal in MLS (23) with Seattle’s Fredy Montero, of doing too little on Sunday against the Quakes.
WATCH: Sapong capitalizes on Kamara's feed
He set up C.J. Sapong’s fifth-minute Goal of the Week contender with a spot-on cross from the right flank, then capped Kansas City’s scoring with a 39th-minute header from Michael Harrington’s inswinger.
But his influence on the game extended far beyond that: Kamara provided pressure up front for 90 minutes, keeping San Jose’s backline on its heels, and never hesitated to track back on defense when Sporting lost possession.
“For me, personally, I worked really hard,” Kamara said, “so going over there now I’ll be fit and ready to join the guys.”