The Revolution have reportedly sent Columbus a record amount of allocation money in the trade – believed to be in excess of $300,000 – as well as an international roster spot for the current season, New England’s highest SuperDraft pick for 2017 and a second round pick for 2018.
Kamara, who ended last season as the joint-highest scorer in MLS with 22 goals, was involved in a very public spat with teammate Federico Higuain in last Saturday’s 4-4 home against Montreal Impact, in which both players scored twice.
The Crew earned a penalty kick in the 51st minute with the score at 3-1. Kamara wanted to take the penalty as he was set for a first career hat-trick but Higuain instead put the ball into the net to make it 4-1, before the Crew collapsed to allow Montreal back into the game.
Kamara laid into his teammate after the game, labelling Higuain as “selfish” as well as questioning the club’s team spirit.
“You have two goals, you’re going for a hat-trick, a player that’s never scored a hat-trick in their career,” Kamara told local TV after the game. “What do you do? Do you give it to him or do you take it? That’s selfishness. That’s not a teammate. That’s selfishness.
“We scored a lot of goals, but there was no team play and that completely explains the way me and Federico behaved on the penalty kick. A team who stays together will win games. A team that doesn’t, not gonna win games. And that’s horrible.”
Kamara was subsequently suspended for this weekend’s game against Colorado but he showed no regret for his comments following that decision when speaking on Tuesday.
“[Coach Gregg Berhalter] told me that this morning, and obviously I didn’t agree to it all,” the Sierra Leonean forward said. “I won’t agree to it. But he’s the boss, and if he says, ‘We don’t need you for the weekend. You’re going to have to sit out for the weekend,’ there’s nothing I can do about that.”
With tensions reaching boiling point, Columbus took the decision to trade their star striker late on Wednesday, with both the Crew and New England officially announcing the deal on Thursday morning.
Columbus won’t be able to replace the 31-year-old goalscorer until the summer transfer window opens on July 4, but they do now have a Designated Player slot available, as well as a healthy sum of allocation money to invest.
Kamara penned a DP contract with Columbus this offseason, just one year after returning to MLS from Middlesbrough and will now become New England’s second DP, joining defender Jose Goncalves.
The Revolution have struggled for goals so far this term, averaging just 1.18 per game – the sixth-worst return in the league so far – so Kamara’s arrival will undoubtedly give the club a boost.
“We have been looking to strengthen our team and we feel that this addition accomplishes just that,” Revolution General Manager Michael Burns said in a club statement. “Kei is a player who has had success and is a proven goal scorer in MLS. We’re pleased we were able to get this deal done and look forward to Kei’s arrival and integration into the team.”
Kamara will now join his seventh team in ten years and his fifth MLS side, having played for Columbus, San Jose, Houston and Sporting Kansas City before then returning to the Crew ahead of the 2015 season.
He has scored a total of 79 goals in 234 MLS appearances and is the league’s second-highest active goalscorer among current MLS players, trailing only San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski, who has 116 goals.
Kamara could make his Revs debut in Saturday’s game against Chicago Fire at Gillette Stadium and could face the Crew three times during the regular season, at home on July 9 and August 20 before a trip to MAPFRE Stadium on September 25.
What do you make of Columbus Crew’s decision to trade Kei Kamara to the New England Revolution?