It could have been like any other day at Columbus Crew SC's EAS Training Center on Tuesday morning. The sun was beginning to creep out from behind the clouds as the Black & Gold got training underway just like the team does every week.
There was tension in the air though after Saturday's epic collapse by Crew SC who saw a second half 4-1 lead evaporate into a singular point.
On top of that was the argument between forward Kei Kamara and playmaker Federico Higuain over who would take a 53rd minute penalty kick that sparked the striker into discussing issues between the club's two Designated Players following the match.
There was an elephant on the field as the players trained and head coach Gregg Berhalter addressed it following the session.
"The actions of Kei, speaking out against a teammate, is unacceptable and we have zero tolerance for that," he said. "Therefore, he won't be playing in the game on Saturday, coach's decision.
"I think that there's a certain way to handle any disagreement between a teammate and it's not going to the press."
During his more than two years in charge, Berhalter has consistently kept things close to the vest. What happens in the locker room has stayed in the locker room and so far that policy has worked well.
Kamara is emotional and outspoken, which makes him the player he is. He holds no punches on the field and has handled himself in the same way off the pitch. This has not been an issue until now, as the club continues to look for answers to a slow start to the year.
Kei arrived to the training ground on Tuesday looking to move on from Saturday's incident and look forward to Wednesday's friendly with Mexican side Veracruz and the match with the red-hot Colorado Rapids. He was already likely to be a spectator for the exhibition game due to his MLS minutes, but now he will not feature against the league's top side, and according to him will have to pay a fine, something he was not pleased about.
"No, not at all," he said. "He [Berhalter] told me that this morning and obviously I didn't agree to it at all and I wouldn't agree to it, but he's the boss and if he says we don't need you for the weekend and you're going to have to sit out for the weekend, there's nothing I can do about that."
The Crew SC forward seemed to still be wrapping his head around the whole situation. As far as Kamara is concerned, the penalty kick should have either gone to Ethan Finlay, who Higuain told him should take it, or to him as he was on a hat trick. Even with the suspension, fine, and potential trade rumors, Kamara is not regretting what he said postgame.
"No, not at all," he stated. "I said what's in my mind and what's in my head. I said that and that was Saturday, that was for that game on Saturday, and I've moved passed it.
"I don't need to fake or hide from anybody. If I'm here for this club, I want to play for this club, I'm going to show my heart and I'm going to leave everything out there and that's what I've been doing. It's the coach's decision. I can't change anything about that. That's a stance he wants to take to prove to everybody else in the locker room that the way I handled it, nobody else should handle stuff like that."
As for his relationship with Higuain moving forward, Kamara doesn't believe there's much to worry about there.
"We'll continue being teammates definitely," he said of Pipa. "This is a team. We're part of a team.
"Just continue playing for the team and continue winning games. Really to get on the same page and win games."
"I think it's important that they're able to function in a way that they can be most effective," the coach said of his two Designated Players. "They have so many times in the past and there's no reason to believe they can't continue to do in the future."
Kamara said that he and Higuain have not spoken about the incident and there are no plans to. When asked if he thought it might be a good idea to take his No. 10 out to lunch, Kei said his Chipotle card "only covers one."
Berhalter admitted he has received inquires about both players after the headlines they made over the weekend, but when asked if Kamara would still be on the roster to serve his one-match suspension on Saturday, he only responded with "Why not?"
If you thought the issues between Kamara and Higauin were overblown and this whole situation would be swept under the rug in no time, you were certainly mistaken. Berhalter's suspension of Kamara is meant to send a message of "This is not how we do things at Crew SC."
Will this mark the end of this saga? We'll have to wait and see, but I'm betting it's far from over.