MLS Closeup: Faint Revs' playoff hopes get boost

A big night for Kei Kamara, a new signing at centerback, and back-to-back wins for the just the second time this season add up to … well, it’s hard to say exactly.

“We need another great week of training and bring that same mentality, and get a road win,” said midfielder Scott Caldwell, who recorded the first two-assist game of his career last week in a 3-0 defeat of Philadelphia that followed up on an extraordinary 4-3 defeat of the Galaxy.

Teal Bunbury scored twice within three minutes to break a 2-2 tie with the Galaxy after the Revs conceded two goals to defender Daniel Steres. Against the Union, Kamara did the double to increase his season total to seven and also contributed a vital goalmouth clearance with the score 1-0.

“He was tremendous,” said Caldwell, who put together the first two-assist effort of his career. “Energy on both sides of the ball, creating chances, helping defensively. It was a great performance and it really kind of helped the rest of the team’s energy, as well. We fed off it.”

Head coach Jay Heaps wanted a “big personality” when he traded a laundry list of assets – general allocation money, targeted allocation money, a draft pick and an international roster slot -- to Columbus in May of 2016 to acquire Kamara, who can be a big presence on the field and a big headache off it.

A week ago, he said to reporters regarding a meeting with team officials to discuss his future, “It was really about what’s best for both of us,” said Kamara, who is earning $800,000 this season and has an option year for 2018 worth $1 million in his current contract. "I want to play here, I want to move forward, but if I'm not in the right system to score those goals, to move forward and to be an impact, it affects the fans because they want to see the best from me, and I want to give this club my all.”

Three goals in those two victories increases his total in a Revs’ uniform to 14 goals (plus six assists) in 40 games. Those are solid numbers if not quite DP-esque, but had Kamara drawn so much attention and caused so much havoc as he lifted New England into the playoff tier the controversy would be muted. That has not been the case much of the time, but when his mind is focused his body can do some incredible things.

“Tonight, he did all the little things,” said Heaps. “He did a really good job of holding the ball up and battling with their center backs.”

New England also posted its first shutout since early June after leaking three against the Galaxy.

“We didn’t let up any goals tonight; that was the focus going in,” Kamara said. “Philly has really put up some goals against us, and we just wanted to defend. We weren’t really worried about going forward and scoring goals, because we knew when we got our chances, it was going to happen.”

Even with those six points the Revs (7-9-5) are six points out of the playoffs, seventh in goals scored (36), and tied for eighth in most goals allowed (34). Those back-to-back wins came at home, where they are 7-2-2, but this week they go back on the road, where they are one of three teams yet to win (0-7-3).

The other two winless teams are Minnesota United and Colorado, which sit at the bottom of the Western Conference.

The run of three road games in the next four during August starts Saturday in Chicago, and at some point during the month the team will roll out its latest signing, French defender Claude Deilna, who has played in England, Slovakia and Romania as well as his native country. Dielna, 29, comes to MLS after three seasons with Sheffield Wednesday, which loaned him out twice before releasing him during the summer

 Since making his pro debut with Istres, in 2008 he’s scored five goals and registered two assists in 136 appearances, mostly at centerback, where the MLS debut seasons for Benjamin Angoua and Antonio Mlinar Delemea have been very hit-or-miss.

“We've been clear about our desire to add players to the roster during this transfer window,” said general manager Michael Burns. “We're pleased we were able to add to our back line and we look forward to getting Claude integrated into the team.”
1 comment about "MLS Closeup: Faint Revs' playoff hopes get boost".
  1. Paula Barrett, August 4, 2017 at 9:07 a.m.

    I hope this is the turnaround for Kamara because he has been a huge disappointment. The Revs haven't had a bona fide scorer since Dempsey and Twellman left years ago. Curious why they got this defender because I think Dellamea is fantastic and this is also Angua's first year with the club. I think it takes at least a season for two central defenders to click. The Revs have so many chances that they don't finish. They need a poacher.

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