Minnesota United coach Adrian Heath likes his side to deliver plentiful crosses into the opposing box, and striker Kei Kamara has made a living on getting on the end of those kinds of passes to score goals.
These compatibilities have converged with Kamara’s trade from Colorado Rapids last week, and it could be deployed for the first time when the Loons face Columbus Crew at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.
“I remember a game in the last year that we played Kei’s team,” Loons manager Adrian Heath said Tuesday. “… He said to me after the game, ‘I would have scored five if I were to play for you.’ ”
Kamara, who is fifth all time in MLS history with 129 career goals, said Heath’s system is “really attractive.”
“Hopefully I’m able to adapt to the system really fast, so I can be able to help the guys and what they are already doing,” Kamara said Tuesday.
But Kamara was brought in — in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2022 draft and $150,000 in General Allocation Money — because Loons forwards haven’t been able to stay healthy and produce when they are on the field.
Starter Luis Amarilla (ankle) has missed five straight games and backup Aaron Schoenfeld (calf) has missed four.
Amarilla, Schoenfeld and Mason Toye have combined for five of 29 total goals for Minnesota across all competitions this season. That’s not good enough for a spot that should score more goals than any other position.
Kamara has 31 goals in 66 games since the start of 2018. The 36-year-old has three goals in nine games this season.
Kamara and new backup goalkeeper Adrian Zendejas, who came in a trade from Nashville, were able to avoid MLS’s longer 10-day quarantine for COVID-19 because they drove vehicles to Minnesota instead of traveling by air.
Atop the Supporters Shield standings with an 8-1-3 record, Columbus hasn’t allowed a goal in five home games, which ties the MLS record to start a season.
“This is going to be maybe our toughest away game that we face this season,” Heath said.
Minnesota did outlast the Crew in penalty kicks during the MLS is Back Tournament Round of 16 in July.
SCHEDULE EVENS OUT
Heath griped a few weeks ago about what he felt was an imbalance of more road games than home games during this funky shortened season.
But with the final nine games announced Tuesday, the breakdown of home and away games is even: nine of each.
Of the final nine matches, five are against clubs below the conferences’ playoff lines: Cincinnati, Nashville, Chicago, Houston.
Oct. 3 — vs. FC Cincinnati, 7:00 p.m.
Oct. 6 — at Nashville SC, 7:30
Oct. 11 — at FC Dallas, 7:30
Oct. 14 — vs. Chicago Fire, 7:00
Oct. 18 — vs. Houston Dynamo, 7:00
Oct. 24 — @ FC Cincinnati, 6:30
Oct. 28 — vs. Colorado Rapids, 7:00
Nov. 1 — @ Sporting Kansas City, 6:30
Nov. 8 — vs. FC Dallas, 5:30