Kei Kamara hasn’t played for Columbus Crew SC in nearly two years.
His famous on-field argument with Federico Higuain in Crew SC’s 4-4 tie with the Montreal Impact on May 7, 2016, led to a trade to the New England Revolution and Kamara has only been back to Columbus once since, a 2-0 loss later that season.
On Saturday, Kei’s Vancouver Whitecaps travel to MAPFRE Stadium. Despite the nearly two-year gap, Kamara is still being asked about his breakup with the Black & Gold and a couple of his answers made their way to Twitter on Tuesday and upset Crew SC fans.
Taken out of context, these quotes sound offensive, and of course, that’s the way social media took them. But there was more to the interview.
“No, no love for Columbus. Definitely no love. But I’m excited to go back and play in Columbus. For us, just to be on the road is good. I didn’t make the last road trip, so I’m definitely looking forward to be on the road with the guys and putting in a good shift. Columbus is a good team, really, really good team. More over at home and we have to be ready, and I know I’m ready for it, so I’ve got to translate that energy to the rest of the guys,” was the full Kamara quote.
As for his quote about moving Columbus, Kamara was twice asked about the ongoing saga that could see Crew SC moved to Austin by owner Anthony Precourt. The second time he responded with the offhand, and clearly joking, “If I was the Commissioner? I’d probably move them to Vegas,” comment before walking off.
In fact, before he said anything about Vegas, he admitted feeling for the passionate Black & Gold fans that make up much of the Save The Crew movement.
“You don’t want to see anybody lose a team that they support for a long time,” Kamara said. “They do have some diehard fans that have been with the team from ‘96 and you feel bad for them. But at the same time, I guess business is business.”
Last time Kamara came to Columbus, he was greeted by a smattering of boos from the Crew SC faithful. Afterwards, he took exception to the treatment, given he scored 27 goals in 41 appearances in his second stint with the club.
Despite that, Kamara said he has nothing to prove to the Black & Gold.
“Not at all,” he said, “Nothing to prove with them any more. It’s been a couple seasons. Neither one of us have done anything since we both left, so we’re all in the bottom and this is a new season. I don’t have to prove anything over there. But definitely getting a win over there would be great.”
In fact, Kamara looks back on his time in Columbus favorably, as he still has family in the city and referred to the town as his “second-biggest home base.”
“It’s the team that drafted me, what, 13 years ago, so there’s a lot of history,” he said, “But to me, about what happened a couple years ago, come on, that’s way gone.”
According to Kamara, any animosity between him and Higuain is long in the past. The two saw each other in preseason, while both teams were in Hawaii, and worked out any issues.
“We took some time to talk and all that,” Kamara said. “We’re teammates, no matter what happened in the past. The MLS is one big family, so no matter what happens between you and players, you’re definitely going to see each other again.”
As for Saturday’s game, Kamara and his Whitecaps teammates are looking forwards to the challenge. Crew SC are tied for first place in the Eastern Conference, and the top of Major League Soccer. Vancouver, meanwhile, is tied for first place in the West with a 2-1-1 record and sit three points behind Columbus.
“They stick to their game plan,” Kamara said of his former team. “They do the good stuff, they possess the ball, play it wide, put it back in. They have a good striker now also, Zardes, that’s ready to score some goals. They’re a good team. You have to respect the way they play, but at the same time, definitely when you play them in Columbus, you really have to be compact and be ready for it.”
While Kamara has been known to say some outlandish things throughout his career, and is never afraid to put what he’s thinking out to the public, his comments about Crew SC were a bit overblown. You can watch the full interview below.