Just how special of an athlete is Kei Kamara? ESPN Sports Science broke down the Columbus Crew SC forward's athletic prowess in getting to the ball and scoring today in a new video.
Kamara can get to a spot with quickness that few defenders possess. Through ESPN's calculations, Kamara with his burst can cover 25 feet in a second and a half. That's the difference between a 50/50 challenge or an open chance. Many defenders in MLS would struggle to keep up. Kei gets to balls first.
More impressively is his vertical leap. At 6' 3", Kamara is a big target, but he has a well-honed technique to spring above defenders. It's something that's apparent on many of the goals he scored, but ESPN highlights the key to his amazing jumping ability. So he gets to the spot first and can jump above the pack to reach the highest of crosses.
ESPN also zero's in on perhaps Kamara's biggest strength, his ability to head the ball with power and accuracy. A player doesn't score 22 goals without some amount of technique, but Kamara's acceleration and vertical leap overshadow his ability to score. Kamara has powered in headers and applied a deft touch, but the breakdown of his second goal against Montreal in extra time accentuates the difficulty of hitting it with just the right amount of power to have the best chance to score. Few players in the world hit that shot that well.
The video is a short testament to Kamara's physical abilities married perfectly with a veteran's insight on the field. He understands where he needs to be, gets there first, and is able to finish the job. He is the perfect weapon for Crew SC's cross reliant offense. No other player in MLS would make this system work has well. He's the perfect player in the perfect spot.