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Kei Kamara returns to MLS stardom after Norwich City and Middlesbrough disappointments

07:30 08 November 2015

Kei Kamara collects his Columbus Crew 2015 Golden Boot award, with wife Kristin and their daughter. Picture: Columbus Crew SC Communications/Daniel Herlensky

Kei Kamara collects his Columbus Crew 2015 Golden Boot award, with wife Kristin and their daughter. Picture: Columbus Crew SC Communications/Daniel Herlensky

Columbus Crew SC Communications/Daniel Herlensky

Returning to the United States has worked out for former Norwich City striker Kei Kamara – who finished the regular season with more goals than star forwards including David Villa and Robbie Keane.

Kei Kamara collects his Columbus Crew 2015 Golden Boot award, with wife Kristin and their daughter. Picture: Columbus Crew SC Communications/Daniel HerlenskyKei Kamara collects his Columbus Crew 2015 Golden Boot award, with wife Kristin and their daughter. Picture: Columbus Crew SC Communications/Daniel Herlensky

The former Canaries loanee was the main man for Columbus Crew in the MLS (Major League Scocer) and is now in the thick of the end-of-season play-offs.

Kamara scored 22 goals to help Columbus to second place in the Eastern Conference, to qualify automatically for the MLS play-offs.

That saw the 31-year-old centre-forward beaten to the Audi Golden Boot award by Italy international Sebastian Giovinco, formerly of Juventus but now of Toronto, who also scored 22 goals but took the award by virtue of more assists – 16 to Kamara’s eight.

The Sierra Leone international joined City on loan from Sporting Kansas City for the second half of the 2012/13 Premier League season and scored one goal in 11 games.

Kei Kamara of Norwich celebrates his equalising goal against Everton with Sebastien Bassong of Norwich during the Barclays Premier League match at Carrow Road, Norwich. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdKei Kamara of Norwich celebrates his equalising goal against Everton with Sebastien Bassong of Norwich during the Barclays Premier League match at Carrow Road, Norwich. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

His energy and personality proved popular with the Carrow Road faithful but Kamara did not do enough to persuade the Canaries to sign him.

He tried his luck in the Championship last season, joining Middlesbrough on loan. Four goals in his first eight games suggested Kamara had found his level but no further goals were added in the remainder of his 25 games with Boro and Kamara returned to his adopted homeland.

On Sunday the striker was unable to prevent Columbus losing 2-1 at Montreal Impact, who had Chelsea legend Didier Drogba in their starting line-up, as well as former Wimbledon and West Ham midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker. The second leg is in Columbus on Sunday night (3am UK time).

Another former Canaries striker plying his trade in the MLS is Robert Earnshaw, scoring two goals in nine appearances of an injury-hit campaign with Vancouver Whitecaps. The Canadian club finished second in the Western Conference and drew the first leg of their play-off semi-final 0-0 at Portland Timbers, although the 34-year-old former Wales striker wasn’t involved.

The Whitecaps are managed by former Norwich and Wolves midfielder Carl Robinson.

The season is over for former Canaries academy and King’s Lynn player Dom Dwyer though.

The 25 year-old scored the winner in a 2-1 win over LA Galaxy on the final day of the regular season to take his goal tally to 12 for the campaign.

That saw Kansas finish sixth in the Western Conference but they drew their play-off qualifier 2-2 at Portland Timbers, before losing 7-6 in a penalty shoot-out.

Dwyer has previously been linked with loan moves back to England with Championship sides but is a big star in America, as he is married to women’s football star Sydney Leroux, who helped the USA win the World Cup in Canada this summer.

The King’s Lynn-raised attacker has previously represented the MLS All Stars and has recently been linked with representing his adopted homeland on the international stage, if he successfully applied for citizenship in 2017.

Other Canaries links in the MLS include former academy midfielder Harrison Heath, who was part of City’s under-18 squad which won the FA Youth Cup in 2013.

Heath was released in the summer of 2014 and joined former Brazil and Real Madrid superstar Kaka at Orlando City, managed by his father, former Leicester defender Adrian Heath. Orlando narrowly missed out on the play-offs in their inaugural MLS season.

The other play-off matches see DC United go to New York Red Bulls with a 1-0 deficit to overturn and Seattle Sounders head to FC Dallas with a 2-1 lead, with former Fulham and Tottenham striker Clint Dempsey on target for Seattle in the first leg.

MLS top scorers

• Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto) – 22 goals in 33 games (16 assists)

• Kei Kamara (Columbus)– 22 goals in 32 games ( eight assists)

• Robbie Keane (Los Angeles) – 20 goals in 24 games (eight assists)

• David Villa (New York City) – 18 goals in 30 games (eight assists)

• Bradley Wright-Phillips (NY Red Bulls) – 17 goals in 34 games (seven assists)

9 comments

  • Kamara scored twice in Sunday's game as Columbus Crew won 3-1 and eliminated Montreal 4-3 on aggregate. Both scores were headers. Columbus plays in two weeks against New York City Red Bulls in a two game series. Championship game will be the first weekend of December. On a social note, Kamara and family attended Dom Dwyer's wedding in Kansas City during the October international break

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    Man from the Prairie

    Monday, November 9, 2015

  • I seem to remember that he was better in the air than he was on the floor. Got one or two assists via his head too. Good luck to the bloke.

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    baguio

    Monday, November 9, 2015

  • I liked KK, a fun sort of guy but I doubt the claim that he's better than our current strikers. I appreciate that our strike force may not be at the level of say Man City but remember KK's a bloke who was rejected not only by Norwich but also, at Chumpionship level by Boro. It wasn't just Hughton who didn't fancy him.

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    PaulWho

    Sunday, November 8, 2015

  • Malaga , please find out how RVW was booked, [what did he say !]. Did he tell the ref he would see him say, next tuesday .

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    wivenhoebudgie

    Sunday, November 8, 2015

  • League 1 standard at best that's why he never made it here!

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    dave123

    Sunday, November 8, 2015

  • Not so sure he is as good as Mbokani , and it wasn't just with us in the EPL he struggled but with Boro in the championship.

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    pug

    Sunday, November 8, 2015

  • Although KK never made it big at NCFC, you have to remember it was under CH's reign of not utilizing strikers. I think he was as good as what we have now, and his personality was infectious and a big asset to the club. Grant Holt did not make an impression as a striker under CH, even immediately after his stardom under PL.

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    MichiganCanary

    Sunday, November 8, 2015

  • On the subject of Canaries players overseas, I watched Real Betis beat Malaga 1-0 on tv last night and RvW was an unused sub. Managed somehow to get himself booked, however! Must have been something he said to one of the officials, in which case his Spanish is probably coming on well - or at least his command of some choice phrases (a la Beckham!).

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    malaga flier

    Sunday, November 8, 2015

  • He was always a fun guy who played with a smile on his face (despite the fanged gum shield!!). Perhaps not good enough for the English game but he gave 100% for us so it is nice to see him enjoying success in the USA.

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    CanaryWest

    Sunday, November 8, 2015

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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