[MLS] Signed to a new contract just last week, forward Kei Kamara celebrated by scoring all three goals as Kansas City beat San Jose, 3-0, during a 120-minute scrimmage in Phoenix, Ariz.
Kamara scored all three of his goals in the first of four 30-minute periods. He headed home a Chance Myers cross for the first goal, scooped up a wayward clearance to net the second, and first-timed a cross by trialist Ryan Smith for his hat trick.
“Kei found himself in some good spots and took advantage of the opportunities that were given to him,” Wizards coach Peter Vermes said in a team press release. “He has a burning desire to be successful, so that’s obviously a big help.”
Quakes forward Ryan Johnson missed the sessions to play for Jamaica against Argentina, and out injured were midfielder Andre Luiz (knee) and defender Jason Hernandez (ankle). Wizards goalkeeper Kevin Hartman is not with the team while a new contract is being negotiated. More than 40 players saw action during the half-hour sessions. Both head coaches used nearly all of their available players as well as a few trialists.
“I thought we looked a little leggy, a little dull, if you will, but that’s to be expected,” said Quakes coach Frank Yallop in a phone interview. “We’ve worked really hard on our fitness since we started, so we didn’t have that crispness you’d like to see. Our passes weren’t crisp, our shots weren’t crisp, but that will come with time.
“We had a lot of injuries last season, too many really, and even though we went on a nice little run, at times we didn’t finish games as strongly as our opponents. Teams outlasted us, and we can’t be laboring late in games like we were last year. I’ve been really working them very hard, to be honest with you, during our fitness and conditioning.
“For the first two weeks, that’s all we did, really. Then in the last three or four days I’ve started talking about team shape and the system and what we want to do. Most of them have been here for a while now, so it’s not like there’s eight or 10 new guys you have to work into the group.”
Yallop used a lot of his projected starters, as well as new Brazilian sigining Eduardo, for the first 60 minutes of action. Backups, draft picks, and trialists played the last two sessions. After they play Kansas City again Saturday, the Quakes return home for training before setting off to England in early March for a 10-day visit with marketing partner Tottenham Hotspur, and before departure the team must be salary cap- and roster-compliant.
The cap won’t be a problem, but a few slots on the regular 18-man roster might be, if the Quakes choose to go that low. The cutdown date is March 1.
“I don’t name names but there’s no question I’ve told some players they have to have a good year for us to be better than we were last year,” he said of a 7-14-9 season and last place in the Western Conference. “It’s no secret and that’s what I’m asking of them. They have to be good players and good leaders. If the club is paying you good money you have to be out there leading and not be a passenger.
“I’ve told them if they don’t show me that, come March 1 they won’t be on the team.”