May 9, 2015
One of the more aggravating aspects of Crew SC fandom was that the Black & Gold had never beaten the Seattle Sounders in Columbus. Sure, Crew SC had won twice in Seattle, including once on the legendary “J90+4” goal in which Justin Meram scored in the fourth minute of stoppage time, but the Sounders had gone 3-0-1 at MAPFRE Stadium. There was the “They Broke the Floor” game in which Tyrone Marshall dug up the penalty spot before a Guillermo Barros Schelotto PK miss that preserved a 1-0 Sounders victory in 2009. There was a Blaise Nkufo hat-trick in a 4-0 Seattle romp in 2010. In the last game of the Robert Warzycha era, the ten-man Sounders won on a shorthanded goal by Eddie Johnson. All in all, the whole thing was annoying.
At long last, on May 9, Crew SC defeated the Sounders at MAPFRE Stadium. Kei Kamara headed a goal around Chad Marshall. Federico Higuain dribbled across the Sounders box before rifling a goal into the lower corner. Kamara knocked home a second goal after a round of tic-tac-toe passing by the Crew SC attack. When the final whistle blew, it was 3-2 Columbus. The Seattle home hex was vanquished at last.
“I didn’t even know that to be honest,” Crew SC Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter said afterward. “It’s nice to have a first time [beating Seattle at home]. I’m not sure how many games were even played against them. Probably only like five? So, it’s not a big sample size.”
Sample size, schmample size. It still felt great.
BONUS MOMENT: KAMARA’S HUMANITARIAN WORK
In addition to his various on-field honors, Crew SC striker Kei Kamara picked up a trio of off-the field awards. He was named Crew SC’s Ohio Health Humanitarian of the Year, won a league-wide award as the MLS Works Humanitarian of the Year, and then, along with Philadelphia’s Michael Lahoud, won the 2015 FIFPro Merit Award, which is a global soccer award for humanitarian work.
Kamara came to America at age 16 as a refugee fleeing the atrocities of the civil war in his native Sierra Leone. He frequently speaks at local schools, sharing his personal story and stressing the importance of making good choices in life. Kamara also works with Schools for Salone, which rebuilds schools lost to the civil war in Sierra Leone. He and Lahoud personally sponsored the Education for All Primary School in East End Freetown. It opened for classes in September.
“We certainly know Kei has had a fantastic season on the field,” said Crew SC Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter, “but it is his off-the-field humanitarian work back in Sierra Leone and locally here in the Columbus community that truly represents what type of person Kei is.”