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Kei Kamara finishes second in MVP vote

Kei may have been second best to a legendary performance, but has the shot at the biggest team honor on Sunday.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto FC's Sebastian Giovinco was named the MLS MVP on Wednesday morning. It was announcement devoid of any drama as the Italian attacker posted otherworldly stats with highlight reel finishes. It was a landslide. Columbus Crew SC's Kei Kamara finished a distant second. Giovinco was excellent. He lead the league in goals (22) and assists (16). No player was more feared on offense. He was a human highlight reel. It's a deserved award. It also overlooks Kamara.

The landslide doesn't do justice for what Kamara was able to achieve in Columbus. In pure numbers, Kamara's 2015 season is a career year. He raced up the Crew SC single season scoring charts with 22. He finished second to Stern John's magical 26 in 1998. He also added eight assists, the third highest total on the team. This is in contrast to the platoon that Gregg Berhalter deployed last season. Jairo Arrieta, Aaron Schoenfeld, and Adam Bedell combined for some underwhelming numbers in 2014.

Goals Assists Shots Shots on Goal Game Winning Goals
Kamara 22 8 135 57 7
2014 Platoon 10 2 82 37 2

Kamara was better in every measure. He scored, he assisted, he tested goalkeepers, and he won games. The Sierra Leonean born forward was a physical presences in the box and contested every header and win most of them. The Crew SC offense just worked better with Kamara, tallying six more goals this season, even when he wasn't scoring.

Awards voting closes before the playoffs begin so voters missed Kamara at his most dominant. He added three more goals and harassed both the Montreal Impact and New York Red Bulls defense in Crew SC's four postseason games. Defenders had to collapse on him when he had the ball and track him without the ball. As Columbus closed out games, he'd drop deep into the defensive end and snuffed out the late charges that might have tripped up Crew SC's path to MLS Cup.

Beyond the numbers, Kamara added a veteran presence to an inexperienced Crew SC team. Kamara has played and won in the MLS playoffs. He's played overseas. He's faced adversity on the field. When the team performance dipped throughout the season, he was there to carry the team with his performance or be the chief cheerleader when shoulders slumped. He was a leader in every sense of the word.

It is unlucky that Kamara's big season came the same time as an all-time MLS season for Giovinco. In just about any other year, Kamara would be taking the top prize. He compares favorably against many past winners and was clearly the top player in the league aside from the Toronto dynamo.

It is no small consolation that Kamara can still win something this season. He's said that team honors are more important and they don't come bigger than an MLS Cup victory. A win Sunday would be that much sweeter.

Finalist voting total:

Player (Club) % of Club Votes % of Media Votes % of Player Votes Weighted Total
Sebastian Giovinco (TOR) 87.27 94.37 77.33 258.97
Kei Kamara (CLB) 1.85 4.23 6.98 13.06
Benny Feilhaber (SKC) 1.82 1.39 1.74 4.95