So, Kei Kamara is gone until at least May 6. That is a done deal.
If you’ve been living under a rock, you can catch up by reading about Kamara’s loan to Norwich City of the English Premier League here.
During a seven-year MLS career, Kamara, from Sierra Leone, has 45 goals with 21 assists. He also has a reputation as one of the most active and athletic wing players in the league.
Kamara, who scored 31 of those goals and delivered 18 assists in the last three-plus seasons with Sporting KC established new career-highs for goals (11) and assists (eight) last season.
He also was chosen Sporting KC’s offensive player of the year after leading MLS with 134 shots playing right wing most of the time. Obviously, that creates a glaring hole in the club’s attack, but it’s far from a crippling blow despite what some Chicken Littles might believe.
“Kei was a major part of our team and major offensive threat,” centerback Matt Besler said. “It’s definitely a spot we’ll have to fill, but I know the coaching staff and the rest of the team believe we have guys who are ready to step up. It’s their turn now. I think they can get the job done just like Kei.”
For starters, midfielder Graham Zusi has been morphing into a right-wing-ish player during the last year. He makes plenty of runs in that channel and can be expected to continue evolving that aspect of his game.
But there are other options as well.
With the addition of Claudio Bieler, who is expected to occupy the center forward, it’s likely C.J. Sapong, who has 14 goals in his first two MLS seasons, will see time on the right wing as well.
“We have other players within our team and our system that can step up and play in those positions,” manager Peter Vermes said.
“We’ve had to manage that in the past when Kei and many players have to go away for international duty or suffer injuries. We feel that going forward we’ll be able to deal with any situation that arises with any player on our team.”
Vermes said Sporting KC will miss Kamara’s athleticism and the ability to overmatch defenders consistently, but he’s confident Sapong do that as well.
Meanwhile, Teal Bunbury, who had an ACL reconstruction in August, and Jacob Peterson, who had his shoulder surgically repaired in December, probably would be in line for minutes there too, but neither will be healthy to kick off the 2013 campaign.
That leaves Benny Feilhaber, who likely fits much better as an attacking midfielder, in the mix with a pair of young, untested forwards – Soony Saad and Dom Dwyer.