MLS Cup 2015 runner-up Columbus Crew broke out of its season-long scoring slump -- seven goals in its first eight games -- with four goals on Saturday, but that outburst only revealed a simmering feud
between star Kei Kamara
and Federico Higuain
when they squabbled over who'd take the penalty kick that led to the fourth goal.
It was all downhill after Higuain
scored as Montreal rallied for three goals to earn a 4-4 tie to cap off what Crew coach Gregg Berhalter
termed an "immature performance." The result left the Crew with only two wins in nine
games and mired in ninth place in the Eastern Conference.
The incident took place in the 57th minute when the Crew, leading 3-1, was awarded a penalty kick. Kamara wanted to take the
penalty kick, but he said Higuain talked him out of it by saying the Argentine wanted Ethan Finlay
to take it.
Finlay, who has never taken a penalty kick in five MLS seasons, said
no, prompting Higuain to say he'd take the shot. Captain Michael Parkhurst
had to race in and resolve the dispute -- in favor of Higuain, who slotted the penalty kick
past Evan Bush
and became the Crew's all-time leader
with his 14th regular-season penalty kick goal.
Coach Berhalter took the blame for the incident, saying he should have indicated whose responsibility it is to take penalty kicks for each
"What I would say is that we have two players that are designated to take penalty kicks and it’s on me for not clarifying which one takes it in this game," he said. "So,
I’ll take full responsibility for that, that’s my fault. Rest assured, that’s not going to happen again."
But the damage was done as Kamara would not let the incident go
after the match, saying it was "selfishness" for Higuain to insist he should take it, depriving Kamara of a hat trick.
Kamara said Higuain had deprived him of the MLS Golden Boot last
season -- he finished with 22 goals, tied with Sebastian Giovinco
with 22 goals, who won the award on the basis of his greater number of assists -- when the Argentine took the Crew's two
Kamara said he didn't have to depend on Higuain, the Crew's playmaker, to get his goals.
"I don’t depend on him," he told Columbus reporters after the game
. "I depend on Ethan, I depend on my outside
backs to pass me balls.”
Kamara said there wasn't much to talk about with Higuain.
“To me and to the relationship to believe in my No. 10, my playmaker, there is
none,” he said. “I never have to worry about it.”